If you suffer from an aching back, you are not alone: according to the National Institutes of Health, back pain is one of the most common medical problems in the United States. Although a lumpy, unsupportive mattress can lead to back stiffness and pain, you may need more than just a new mattress to get your back on track.
Back pain basics
Back pain is generally categorized as upper or lower back pain. Lower back pain is by far the most common, occurring most often in mature and older adults.
Pain can be dull and constant or a sharp, stabbing kind of pain. Some pain is localized while other pain may radiate or travel down your legs or other areas.
Acute pain is classified as lasting less than six weeks. Chronic pain lasts longer than six weeks. No one wants to live with back pain for any amount of time, so getting physical therapy is important.
Medications have limits
One frustrating thing about back pain is that finding a cause can be difficult. Meanwhile, the pain must be dealt with. Medications such as over-the-counter anti-inflammatories can help with moderate pain, but taking them over a long period of time can lead to complications. Opioids are effective for temporary pain relief but can have devastating effects if taken over an extended period of time. For more serious pain there are other types of pain treatment, such as epidurals, physical therapy, weight management, and surgery. Medications help the pain but they don’t address the existing injury or help prevent further injury.
How physical therapy can help
A licensed and trained physical therapist knows about how your back, spine, and muscles work together to support you and help you move. Once your doctor has determined that you are a good candidate for physical therapy, you should begin treatment as soon as you are able.
What to expect during physical therapy
During your intake, your therapist will assess how you stand, move, and perform certain tasks. Based on your therapist’s observations, passive or active therapy will be scheduled.
Passive physical therapy can include electric stimulation pain relief with so-called transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENs) units, Ice or heat therapy, ultrasound, and massage.
Active physical therapy can help improve your flexibility, strength, and conditioning through a carefully selected program of exercises.
The range of motion exercises helps stretch out tense muscles. Other types of exercises target areas of weakness; for example, core strength building exercises that aim to strengthen a weak core group of muscles in the abdomen. A strong core is essential to support and take excessive stress off of your back.
Your physical therapist will educate you about how to avoid getting hurt again. This is a key factor because without changing the habits that got you injured in the first place, it’s only a matter of time before the pain will return.
It may be helpful to purchase a new mattress, but if your pain is due to injury or a chronic condition, you will need professional medical assistance to secure that good night’s sleep. Endeavor Rehab Center provides Austin’s highest quality outpatient physical therapy, occupational therapy and hand therapy services. At Endeavor Rehab Center, we promote recovery and provide treatment services and outpatient physical therapy for a wide range of musculoskeletal disorders and orthopedic injuries and conditions, specifically tailored for you.
From soft tissue rehab and joint mobilization, therapeutic modalities, and functional exercise, to pre- and post-operative rehabilitation, our physical therapists provide both manual and non-manual therapy to target the problem, and deliver custom-tailored rehabilitation programs that get real results. We also provide outpatient occupational therapy services with a particular focus on injuries and conditions of the hand and upper extremities.
Our goal is to maximize your mobility, function and improve your overall quality of life. As an owner-operated clinic, we are able to make our patients’ needs our top priority.