Did You Know Physical Therapy is an Effective Treatment for Low Back Pain?
Got low back pain? Then get a physical therapy referral!
Physical therapy is a leading profession involved in the diagnosis and treatment of low back pain.
In fact, low back pain is one of the most common reasons people come to work with a physical therapist.
Researchers in our field have even developed concise and comprehensive practice guidelines to help therapists manage this condition in their patients.
Keep reading to learn how physical therapy can help you find meaningful relief from your lower back pain!
Do you have back pain?
Did you know that approximately 80 percent of Americans have experienced (or will experience) back pain? That’s an unfortunate statistic, especially if you’re already one of those sufferers.
Chronic back pain can prevent you from performing the countless daily tasks you need or want to perform.
Even when you’re not engaged in activity, your back pain may be keeping you miserable 24/7. But don’t assume that drugs can provide more than temporary relief, or that surgery won’t create more problems than it solves.
Instead, go with the healthy, natural way to kiss your back pain goodbye — through physical therapy.
Some facts about back pain
“Back pain” is an all-encompassing term used to describe a vast number of conditions that cause pain in the upper or lower back. Sports-related injuries, poor posture, and car accidents are just a few of the many ways that someone can develop back pain.
The most common cause of back pain is from sustaining an injury. This can happen in one of two ways – from an instant, sudden trauma, or from a repetitive-use injury that develops gradually over time.
Because back pain is so commonplace in the United States, there is a lot of information we have on the topic. Below are some facts about back pain:
- Back pain is the number one disability for those under age 45.
- In the United States alone, there are an expected 31 million people with lower back pain at any given time.
- Back pain runs second, only after the common cold, as the top reason for visiting a healthcare provider in the United States.
- Experts place the likelihood of any person to experience some type of back problem in their lifetime at about 80%. That’s four out of every five people!
- 30-40 percent of all workplace absences are due to back pain.
- Approximately one quarter of U.S. adults reported having low back pain lasting at least one whole day in the past three months, and 7.6% reported at least one episode of severe acute low back pain within a one-year period.
- More than two-thirds of back strains are caused by lifting and other exertions, such as pulling and pushing.
- Most cases of back pain are mechanical—meaning they are NOT caused by serious conditions, such as infection, fracture, or cancer.
1. All physical therapy treatments are safe for all ages.
The risk for low back pain tends to increase with age, but people of all ages can struggle with this broad condition.
Fortunately, physical therapy services that are proven effective for low back pain—including corrective exercises and spinal manipulation—are safe and appropriate for folks from all walks of life.
If a specific service is contraindicated for you, your physical therapist can deliver plenty of other treatments to support your healing.
2. Physical therapy treatment plans are safe, non-invasive, and personalized for your needs.
Based on the current clinical practice guidelines created by the American Physical Therapy Association’s Orthopaedic Section, a person presenting with low back pain can be classified into one of several distinct treatment categories, based on a thorough examination.
This type of systematic categorization is cost-effective and beneficial, since it helps patients receive services specifically designed for their needs.
Thanks to their extensive training, a physical therapist can skillfully tease out hidden issues contributing to your back pain condition, such as nerve impingement, movement incoordination, poor core muscle activation, and range of motion limitations.
These are issues that are often overlooked or under-addressed by other professionals—and explains why interventions that just provide symptom relief are often not effective in the long-term.
In other words, if underlying issues like instability or incoordination aren’t addressed, your issue is likely to recur!
By addressing the underlying causes of your back pain and then systematically managing these issues with personalized treatment based on research, a physical therapist can alleviate your symptoms and reduce your likelihood of chronic suffering.
3. Physical therapy can help decrease your risk of sustaining a back-related injury or condition.
Low back pain is so common that most people will have it at least once in a lifetime.
It’s not always clear what triggers back pain in the first place, and most experts agree that there are usually multiple issues at play, including activity level, occupation, age, family and medical history, and the presence of other health conditions like smoking, obesity, and diabetes.
A physical therapist can work with you to help you identify and modify your preventable risk factors. For example, sitting too much is correlated with lower back pain.
By helping you control your pain and improve your physical function and ergonomic environments, a physical therapist makes it easier for you to increase your physical activity level and minimize the amount of time you spend sitting.
Consult with a physical therapist today
Physical therapists are experts at identifying how low back pain limits a person’s participation in daily activities, and how these limitations can be resolved or compensated for.
After all, your progress outside the clinic matters even more than your progress inside the clinic! Our physical therapy team always looks for the bigger picture of your condition and will help you modify your daily tasks in a way that will make you feel successful, safe, and confident.