You may think of physical therapy as the road to recovery for athletes or people recovering from surgery or auto accidents, but the truth is that low back pain is one of the top reasons that physical therapy is prescribed.
Though the majority of back pain resolves on its own or with minimal intervention, when medical help is needed to address issues of chronic pain physical therapy is generally the first course of action, especially when a patient is experiencing symptoms such as numbness, tingling, or unremitting pain between the lower back and the legs.
Seeking Medical Help
When you visit our lower back pain specialty practice, our spine specialists will conduct a thorough examination that includes a physical exam and an in-depth interview to determine how long you’ve been in pain, what its origins are, and other important details. Our goal is to pinpoint the exact cause of your discomfort in order to determine what intervention is most appropriate. In many cases this will be physical therapy.
What a Physical Therapist Will Do
Based on the instructions provided by your physician and in collaboration with you, the physical therapist will create a comprehensive program designed to improve any physical issues that may be impacting your spine, relieve your pain, and allow you to return to your normal activities as soon as possible. Though you may be tempted to minimize your activity and retreat to your couch or bed, studies have revealed that movement and a program of prescribed activities are the best way to rehabilitate your back, get rid of pain, and put you back on your feet.
Though much of the time you spend with your physical therapist will be devoted to exercises and stretches meant to alleviate pain, you will also be learning about what activities you can do on your own and what you should stay away from. Your physical therapist will teach you about the benefits of staying active, as well as how placing your back under unnecessary stress can make your discomfort worse.
One of the most common concerns that people with back pain express is fear of additional pain – they are reluctant to try exercises or stretches because they are unfamiliar or seem like more than their body can handle. Not all pain is caused by a physical condition, and not all pain is a sign of physical damage.
Overcoming this fear is one of the goals of physical therapy. Your therapist’s exercises are often introduced in a gradual way, with physical therapy routines introduced in small parts to show you that they are safe to do and will not cause additional pain. That type of program also allows your body to get used to each activity and grow stronger. Your therapist will give you exercises that translate to your life, so that you are eventually able to return to doing your normal activities with a significant reduction of pain.
If physical therapy does not provide the pain relief you’re seeking or if the specialists at our spine specialty practice in New Jersey determine that there is a physical cause to your pain that requires intervention, we will discuss that option with you as well. Contact us today to set up an appointment and put you on the path to recovery.