When you have chronic back pain, it can feel like every aspect of your life gets interrupted. Pain at work can lead to decreased productivity, sick days, and increased stress. Pain at home can prevent you from being able to care for yourself and your loved ones. Chronic back pain can even make it difficult to exercise and stay active, which may lead to even more pain, weight gain, and other issues associated with a sedentary lifestyle.
The good news is, even if you have chronic back pain now, you don’t necessarily have to live with it forever. Contact our physical therapy office to schedule a consultation with a physical therapist who can help you start feeling better and feeling more in control of your life.
How a Physical Therapist Can Help Alleviate Your Back Pain
Back pain affects most of us at some point, but for some people the pain can persist for at least three months or more. While alleviating pain is an important goal, it’s also critical to identify and address the contributing factors leading to the chronic back pain. Addressing root causes reduces your risk of recurring problems and long-term dysfunction—otherwise, pain can just keep coming back once you stop taking pain medication.
This is one of the reasons why working with a physical therapist is so valuable. Physical therapy services like postural assessments, strength and range of motion testing, and tests of balance, motor control, and coordination can give us a lot of insight into why your back pain is occurring and why the underlying issue developed in the first place. Your physical therapist can then prescribe specific interventions to resolve these root factors while at the same time prescribing symptom-alleviating services.
In other words, we seek to resolve the “why’s” of your pain while also resolving the pain itself!
Here are a few specific things you can expect when working with a physical therapist for your back pain:
- A thorough assessment. We’ll look at your body, find out about your medical and family background, compile a list of your symptoms (including pain, stiffness, and weakness or numbness in one or both legs), and learn more about your lifestyle and current challenges to help us clarify your diagnosis. A physical therapist can gain a lot of insight even from looking at your footwear, walking style, posture, and body mechanics, so come in comfortable clothing and be prepared to move.
- A chance to clarify your goals. Helping you make progress with objective measurements like strength, pain levels, and range of motion is important. But we also will take the time to learn about the things you really want to be able to do and achieve once your back pain gets better. This includes very specific functional activities like playing a round of golf or being able to walk your dog around the block without stopping. What matters to you is what matters to us! We’ll always keep your goals in mind as we create a treatment plan so you can really feel and see your progress in therapy. By keeping your goals and personal vision in the front and center of your plan of care, we also help you have more FUN in your physical therapy sessions!
- A plan of care that combines a customized range of evidence-based interventions. Physical therapy services that are effective for alleviating chronic back pain include soft tissue massage, joint mobilizations, spinal manipulations, therapeutic exercise, therapeutic pain education, and non-invasive modalities like electrical stimulation. We can make practical recommendations on stress mangement, diet, and other lifestyle matters, and refer you to other providers as needed. We can prescribe and fit you for adaptive equipment and support devices like braces or orthotics, teach you safer ways to move or complete daily tasks with efficiency and safety, and help you start feeling better so you can exercise regularly again, which we know is good for spinal health and mental well-being.
Your physical therapist can even help you prepare for or recover from back surgery if this kind of procedure is eventually determined to be appropriate for your needs.
Here are the Benefits of Physical Therapy for Chronic Back Pain
Physical therapy is recognized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as one of the “first lines” of treatment for most types of chronic pain. Altogether, our approach to diagnosing and treating back pain can benefit you by offering:
- Longer-lasting relief
- Improved spinal health
- Reduced risk of recurring issues and worsening tissue damage
- Decreased reliance on pain medications or invasive procedures
- Improved cost-effectiveness
- Lowered healthcare costs
- Decreased downtime (unlike back surgeries, which can require months of challenging recovery, often with little or no symptom improvement)
- Improved productivity
- Improved activity tolerance
- Increased sense of control of your health
- Increased understanding of your pain experience
Is Back Pain Bugging You?
Physical therapy is proven to be an effective back pain treatment and is safe for people of all ages and health backgrounds. Contact our clinic today to schedule an appointment with a physical therapist and get back on the road to the active and pain-free lifestyle you want and deserve.