Physical Therapy and Low Back Pain
A Physical Therapist is a very well educated and licensed health care professional who can help patients ease pain and improve or reestablish mobility. Physical Therapist specialize in restoring and improving motion in people’s lives and play a vital role not only in treating persistent or recurrent low back pain , but also in prevention and risk reduction. If you have felt low back pain, you are not the only one. It is estimated that ¼ of Americans have experienced low back pain within the past 3 months at any given time. Low back pain is often the result of overuse, strain or injury. This usually involves excessive bending, twisting, lifting, and even too much sitting.
General Tips for the Prevention of Low Back Pain:
• Strive to maintain your back, stomach and leg muscles strong and flexible
• Maintain good alignment so that your body can be more efficient when you move
• Do not to slouch – maintain good posture regardless of position and especially with movement
• Strive to maintain good body positioning at work, home or recreational activities
• Regardless of what you lift keep the load close to your body
• If the load is too heavy for you get help or use an assistive device
• Try to keep up with a regular exercise program. Staying active and fit can help to prevent and recover from injuries quicker
What if You Experience Low Back Pain?
Often times, low back pain is mild to moderate and resolves on its own. However, sometimes back pain can reoccur or persist, resulting in a decreased quality of life or even disability.
If you do have low back pain try to stay active and perform as much of your normal routine as possible. Longer than one day of bed rest can often slow down your recovery. You should schedule an appointment to see your Physical Therapist if the pain persist for more than a few days or is worsening.
See your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms:
• Loss of bowel or bladder control
• Numbness in the groin or inner thigh
• Pain that does not change with rest
What a Physical Therapist Can Do To Help
All low back pain is not the same and your treatment plan should be designed to suit your specific condition. The following should be expected from your Physical Therapist:
• Personalized evaluation: Your Physical Therapist will ask you for a complete history regarding your specific condition and will examine you thoroughly to identify problems with your posture, flexibility, strength, joint mobility, and movement. Consideration will be given to how you use your body at work, in your home and during sports and recreational activities.
• Customized treatment plan: Upon completion of your evaluation your Physical Therapist will create a treatment plan designed for your specific condition. This may consist of:
1. Treatment to reduce pain and restore mobility
2. Manual therapy techniques, including spinal manipulation, to correct or improve mobility of joints and soft tissue.
3. Customized strengthening and/or flexibility exercise program
4. Education regarding care of your back and training for proper posture, bending, lifting, sitting, sleeping and performing tasks both at work and in the home.