Back pain is debilitating for millions of people worldwide. Here in the U.S., it is one of the leading causes of missed work and disability.
If a person sees a doctor for back pain, the physician is likely to recommend a variety of techniques to try to lessen the person’s pain. Conservative, less-invasive treatments for back pain are attempted first, including physical therapy, dry needling, and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS).
Let’s take a look at some of the therapeutic methods that can be used to treat back pain:
How Physical Therapy Helps to Relieve Back Pain
Physical therapy utilizes a number of techniques – not just weightlifting or getting a deep-tissue massage. The primary goal of physical therapy for back pain is usually to strengthen the muscles of the back and core, so they can take pressure off of the spine and ease the pain.
In TENS electrostimulation, the physical therapist will place the electrodes of the TENS unit on the patient’s back. The therapist will then start the machine so that the patient’s back muscles contract, as the therapy sends tiny electric pulses through the body. This treatment is believed to prompt the body to create endorphins and block pain signals.
Many people who are about to have back surgery are asked to first undergo a course of physical therapy in order to strengthen their back before surgery. This way, the recovery period is easier, because they will need physical therapy afterward to help heal the muscles and other structures that received surgical treatment for the back pain.
Dry Needling to Treat Back Pain
A therapist can also perform dry needling, which is a minimally invasive treatment for back pain. This therapy uses the same type of filiform needles as are used in acupuncture, but the needles are removed quickly in dry needling.
In dry needling treatment for back pain, the needles are placed at certain trigger points in the muscles – these trigger points may be tender to the touch and highly sensitive. The idea behind dry needling is that it removes tension in the problematic nerves and muscles.
When a muscle develops a knot in it, it is called a trigger point. Those are the locations where the needles will be inserted in dry needling. The placement of the needles may be deep or shallow, depending on the severity of the pain.
Alternative Pain Treatments
Many people try various types of holistic treatments to treat their back pain. These can include meditation, yoga, focused breathing, and biofeedback.
Certain foods are known to have inflammatory properties and can foster pain, particularly those with trans fats. Maintaining a healthy weight can also greatly help to reduce back pain.
Physical Therapy in Austin
If you are in or around the Austin area and are looking for effective treatments for back pain, contact our friendly team today at Endeavor Physical Therapy & Wellness. Call us at (512) 284-7192 or request an appointment via our online form, and find out what sets us apart as leaders in the field of physical therapy.