Millions of people live with chronic back pain. This can affect your life in several major ways. You might miss days of work or experience a limited ability to participate in fun activities. It may be difficult to find a doctor who knows how to adequately treat your pain.
Fortunately, you don’t have to live with chronic back pain and the limitations it causes. While medication can be an option, there are other effective treatments as well. The doctors at Progressive Spine and Sports Medicine want to show you how physical therapy can help relieve your chronic back pain.
What defines chronic back pain
Chronic back pain can sometimes be caused by an injury, especially ones from repetitive strain or a pulled muscle. It’s sometimes related to another underlying medical condition, such as fibromyalgia or arthritis, though not always.
Most back pain is persistent and painful, but it rarely shows up in medical tests such as X-rays or MRIs (magnetic resonance imaging). Because your experience of pain is often much worse than tests would reveal, it’s important to have a doctor who understands your condition and takes it seriously.
Chronic back pain usually affects your lower back, responds minimally to pain medication, and is present most days of the week. Chronic pain lasts for at least 12 weeks with minimal relief.
How physical therapy can help
When you’re in pain, your first instinct is usually to get more rest. Ironically, this tends to make lower back pain worse. Being sedentary can cause an increase in lower back pain. Being moderately active can improve your back pain.
But it’s important to do the right kinds of activities that will have beneficial effects for your back. Some types of exercise or activity can make it worse. Physical therapy is the right combination of exercises to strengthen your back and help keep you active.
Physical therapy can improve your back pain in the following ways:
- Improves your range of motion
- Addresses any structural abnormalities, such as with your pelvis or hips
- Strengthens your lower back and abdominal “core” muscles
- Corrects your posture
- Improves your balance
Physical therapy often includes other additional treatments along with it, such as application of heat, use of TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulator) machines, acupuncture, and osteopathic manipulations.
The goal of physical therapy varies for each person. The physical therapist takes into account your unique goals and limitations to formulate a plan to help you get better. While physical therapy has the ultimate goal of helping you become pain-free, the process of strengthening weak muscles can sometimes feel a bit challenging.
However, many of the exercises you will learn in physical therapy have the specific goal of providing relief from your pain. Proper physical therapy should help reduce inflammation and help you to avoid further injury and disability.
Progressive Spine and Sports Medicine can help you recover from a life of chronic back pain. A stronger, healthier life is just around the corner. Call our office today at 201-962-9199 or request an appointment online.