Virtually everyone experiences back pain at some time, and fortunately, about 90% of all cases resolve in under two months. But for the 10% who suffer back pain for six weeks or longer, it can take over their lives. Shorter-lived back pain usually comes down to soft tissue injuries that your body can repair. Chronic pain can result from soft tissue problems or more complex issues with your spine and nerves.
If you have chronic back pain, Philip Baldeo, MD, and his team at Liberty Medical Services may be able to help reduce or eliminate your pain with physical therapy.
Treating back pain with physical therapy
After trying self-care treatments, such as applying cold compresses and taking over-the-counter pain medications, physical therapy is often the next step. Treatment usually starts conservatively as the extent and causes of the back pain are evaluated.
Physical therapy is almost always a good choice for treatment, because it’s drug-free and there’s likely a type of exercise that will help reduce pain and increase mobility. The combination of effective care and a lack of negative side effects makes physical therapy a good choice for treatment.
The benefits of physical therapy
Since there’s a wide range of stretches, exercises, and techniques from which your physical therapist can choose, you have options that can accommodate your level of physical ability as well as your affected range of motion. The goal of physical therapy is to increase your range of motion and restore efficient blood flow to the affected regions in as pain-free a manner as possible.
Your circulatory system is the transportation route for the raw materials your body needs to make repairs. Inflammation resulting from a tissue injury can sometimes compromise blood flow, so physical therapy may be able to help your blood flow efficiently again.
Types of physical therapy
Your treatment will depend on the severity of your pain, the motions that are restricted, and the underlying causes of your pain. Some of the therapies you may undergo could include:
Repeated movement exercises
Repeated movement exercises often target chronic back pain that results from herniated disks or spinal stenosis. These disorders can lead to pinched nerves at the spine, which in turn can lead to pain, tingling, or numbness in your back or other areas of your body. Repeated movement exercises often consist of movements that are in the opposite direction of motions that cause you pain. These opposing motions are sometimes called McKenzie exercises.
Stabilizing exercises, which target spinal and abdominal muscles, aim to retrain your body and give your spine more support. Back pain often results from the failure of core muscles to share stress loads, which can result in injury.
With mobilization therapy, your practitioner uses gentle movements to help your joints overcome stiffness and improve flexibility.
Physical therapy techniques don’t end with stretches and exercises. Dr. Baldeo also includes other therapies, such as ultrasound, electrical muscle stimulation, strapping, and traction. Effective physical therapy for chronic back pain centers around a customized treatment plan based on your pain.
To learn more about physical therapy and to see if it can help with your chronic back pain, book an appointment online or over the phone with Liberty Medical Services today.