Back pain is one of the primary reasons why people see their doctors or their physical therapists. Persistent, chronic back pain is experienced by 8% of adults in the U.S., but a physical therapist (PT) can help to lessen your pain while also teaching you strategies on how to avoid future injury.
Physical therapy can help to relieve symptoms of back pain and also to restore functionality and flexibility. This can be done in lieu of surgery and to help prevent the need for surgery in the first place; however, physical therapy is also imperative after having back surgery so that you heal properly and completely.
How Can Physical Therapy Treat Back Pain?
The structure of the back is made up of muscles, nerves, discs, vertebrae, and joints. All of these structures work in tandem, allowing the back to bend, twist, and stretch. A physical therapist can help you learn how to move your back in ways that will not cause harm, and the PT can also guide you in exercises, stretches, and therapeutic treatments to help your back heal after surgery or an injury.
Chronic Back Pain
A vertebral disc that becomes inflamed, ruptures, or slips out of place can cause excruciating pain. This is because the cartilage of the disc may be putting constant pressure on an adjacent nerve in the spinal cord, thereby causing chronic back pain. Plus, this pain can radiate to other points in the body that are controlled by that specific part of the spinal cord.
As we get older, the cartilage of the discs can dry out and lose their cushiony integrity. This can lead to bone-on-bone scraping of adjacent vertebrae that are no longer separated well by the disc. In severe cases, surgery may be warranted in order to prevent the vertebrae from causing severe chronic back pain.
Following Back Surgery
A physical therapist will help a patient to gently regain normal back movability after having spine surgery. The prescribed exercises and stretches will be specific to what was performed during the surgery, whether it was to repair a disc or to fuse two or more vertebrae together.
The therapy will likely involve movements to increase strength and mobility in the back. The activities will increase in complexity and duration as you heal.
After a Back Injury
Your doctor will first order imaging tests – such as an X-ray and/or an MRI – to help determine the precise diagnosis of where and how the back was injured. The diagnosis will be the baseline in determining how the physical therapist will proceed with treatment.
A doctor will usually refer a patient to a physical therapist if the physical diagnosis warrants it or if the back pain does not start to subside within two weeks after the injury. If the pain is particularly severe, therapy will likely be recommended right away.
Physical Therapists in Austin, Texas
When back pain begins to negatively impact your lifestyle, it’s time to see a physical therapist. Your therapist will devise a plan to help relieve the pain and get you moving again. Our team at Endeavor Physical Therapy & Wellness is dedicated to the well-being and health of our patients, and we can help your back feel much better.
To schedule an appointment at any of our offices across the greater Austin area, call us today at (512) 284-7192 or fill out our easy-to-use appointment request form online now. We look forward to helping you enjoy life with much less back pain and more fun!