Low back pain is one of the most common ailments reported to physical therapists across the country. In fact, about 25% of people in the United States report experiencing low back pain in just the last few months. While much of this pain is mild and temporary, some cases require the help from a physical therapist to overcome.
If you, or someone you love, currently experiences back pain, contact us today for a consultation. Additionally, be sure to check out our blog post with helpful exercises that can help strengthen your back and relieve back pain.
Symptoms of Low Back Pain
There are a myriad of symptoms associated with low back pain, from a sharp pain the strikes a single area, to a dull pain that spreads to many other areas of the body. Treatment will depend on the location, type of pain, and how long a patient has experienced the pain.
Acute Low Back Pain – When a person experiences low back pain that only lasts a short time – less than three months – it’s known as “acute” low back pain. In these situations, a patient can often pinpoint the cause of the pain, and most often experience relief shortly after the initial incident. However, sometimes physical therapy regimen may be required to bring the episode under control quicker than leaving it to heal on its own.
Recurring Back Pain – When acute back pain resurfaces, it’s known as “intermittent” back pain. This type of pain is often the result of somehow reinjuring or inflaming the original affected area. Once again, the issue may resolve itself for many people, but for others physical therapy may be required to overcome the issue and return to regular activity.
Chronic Back Pain – Back pain that continues for longer than three months is known as “chronic” back pain. In some cases, chronic back pain may result from an acute issue getting worse due to age or activity. Other times, injury or other health issues may cause low back pain to linger and expand. Depending on the situation, a person may recuperate from a short physical therapy plan, or may require life-long support from a physical therapist to maintain daily activity.
Causes and Diagnosis
Low back pain afflicts people of all ages, professions, and activity level, and can strike at any time. In most cases, the cause of low back pain can be traced to a particular activity, or set of activities, a person did that led to their pain. However, because the lower back is such a highly utilized part of the body, sometimes tracking the cause can be difficult. It could be caused by sleeping posture, work posture, repetitive activities, other health issues, or something entirely different.
With this in mind, we suggest visiting with a physical therapist to receive a consultation about the condition of your lower back, and the treatment that will be most effective for your situation.
When diagnosing a person’s low back pain, you can expect your physical therapist to follow these steps:
- Consultation to review your health history, including details about the pain and your lifestyle and activities
- Perform a physical evaluation to assess the location and severity of your symptoms
- Diagnosis of the cause and magnitude of your low back pain
- Recommended treatment plan for your low back pain
Do I Need Physical Therapy
Your physical therapist will recommend a plan for improving the health of your lower back and overcoming the pain you experience. In some cases, your therapist may recommend activities you can do at home, with the possibility of a simple checkup in the future. Or if the pain and situation is more severe, they may recommend an ongoing physical therapy regimen to help strengthen and stabilize your lower back to prevent future episodes.
There are a number of physical therapy techniques that can help you with your low back pain:
- Aquatic Therapy – Aquatic therapy is a fantastic option for many people, as it allows them to ease into physical therapy while still seeing significant progress over time. For more information about our aquatic therapy program, including our unique Endless Pool, visit our Aquatic Therapy page.
- Manual Therapy – If your pain is caused by joint or soft tissue problems, your therapist may recommend manual therapy, in the form of soft tissue to improve mobility, increase circulation, and promote healing.
- Strengthening and Flexibility – Your physical therapist may work with you to strengthen certain areas and expand your flexibility to overcome your low back pain. Often your therapist will recommend exercises you can do at home to continue your progress and recovery.
- Training – Sometimes patients experience pain due to improper lifting or movement that causes inflammation or irritation. Your physical therapist will provide helpful recommendations and training so you can make smart decisions at home to avoid additional or recurring pain, while maintaining the activity you enjoy.
Schedule an Appointment Today
If you or someone you know is experiencing low back pain, call us today to schedule a consultation. Our physical therapists have the knowledge, training, and skills to help get you on the road to recovery and back to the health and activities you love.
Call us today at 501-319-7659.