- According to WebMD, “Almost 30% of Americans have some sort of pain in the lower back, and it’s a top cause of disability worldwide,” and this article on MedlinePlus says that back pain is one of the most common reasons people visit the doctor. There are many possible causes for this pain: stress, fractures, strains, herniated discs, and lifestyle habits like slouching, wearing high heels, or carrying heavy backpacks. Back pain can also be a symptom of sciatica, which is an irritation of the sciatic nerve that can cause pain throughout the leg as well as in the back.
You should always visit your doctor to rule out a serious injury or disease as the cause of your back pain. After that, as the MedlinePlusarticle goes on to say, your first line of defense should not be medication, except in the most serious cases of long-lasting back pain. Instead, it’s recommended to try drug-free therapies like yoga, exercise, massage, heat wraps, acupuncture, and physical therapy.
There’s no reason to live in pain when you have access to effective, non-invasive natural treatments like manual physical therapy.
What is Manual Physical Therapy?
This is a specialized field of physical therapy; therapists must receive advanced training.
WebMD lists three types of manual physical therapy:
“Soft Tissue Mobilization. Pressure is applied to the soft tissues of the body, such as the muscles. Massage can help relax muscles, increase circulation, and ease pain in the soft tissues.
“Joint Mobilization. Slow, measured movements are used to twist, pull, or push bones and joints into position. This can help loosen tight tissues around a joint and help with flexibility and alignment.
“Joint Manipulation. Pressure is applied to a joint. It can be done with the hands or a special device. The careful, controlled force used on the joint can range from gentle to strong and from slow to rapid.”
Your treatment will likely include a combination of these hands-on techniques to help relieve your back pain. Each course of treatment is unique to the patient.
What Should I Expect?
Your treatment begins with a thorough exam so we can identify the cause of the pain. With that knowledge, our highly trained physical therapists can design a specific care plan to suit your needs and get you the results you’re looking for. This could include manual physical therapy as well as exercises for you to do during your therapy sessions and on your own.
How Can I Prevent Back Pain?
It’s important to complete your prescribed manual physical therapy treatment plan, including all exercises–even if you start to feel better earlier than anticipated. After that, these are some important considerations:
- Stay active. A healthy spine is a spine that moves regularly. Exercise that strengthens your back and abdominal muscles can help ease and prevent back pain.
- Watch your posture. Mom was right when she said, “Sit up straight!” It can feel difficult at first until your muscles get used to holding you in that position, but your low back will thank you. If you have a desk job, use a high-quality chair with appropriate support, take regular standing and stretching breaks, and look into getting a standing desk for at least some of your work time.
- Be careful with heavy items. How many people do you know who started having back trouble after they tried to move their couch? It’s important to keep a strong, straight back and lift with your legs when you are moving any heavy object. And though it’s tempting to do everything yourself, recognize when it might be better to get someone else to do that lifting for you. The assistance might save your back!
- Consider your entire lifestyle. Notice if you constantly shift your weight to one leg, or if you always carry a bag or a baby on the same side of your body. Try wearing flat shoes more often than you wear heels. Eat well to maintain a healthy weight and reduce stress on all your joints.
Want to find out more how you can naturally heal lower back pain and sciatica?
I’m hosting a FREE Back Pain and Sciatica Workshop that is limited to 20 attendees.
Here’s what you will learn:
- The Single Biggest #1 Mistake back pain and sciatica sufferers make which actually stops them from healing…
- The 3 Most Common Causes of Lower Back Pain and Sciatica…
- A Sure-Fire Way to Pick the Right Treatment for the Cause of Your Pain (and save you a ton of time and money)
- How a problem in your back can cause pain, numbness or tingling in your leg…
- What successful treatment and permanent relief looks like without the side effects of medications, injections or surgery.
Arlan Alburo, PT, MTC
Manual Physical Therapy as an Effective Natural Treatment for Lower Back Pain