Back pain is a total drag, plain and simple. Many people get fed up after years of dealing with it and consider costly surgeries or addictive pain medication to handle the problem. However, what they may not know is that surgery and opioids aren’t the only options available to people suffering from this condition.
If you’ve been dealing with chronic back pain and are thinking about surgery to finally feel some relief, contact Magnolia Physical Therapy today to learn about how working with a physical therapist can be an alternative solution to your chronic back pain.
Defining chronic back pain
The Health Policy Institute At Georgetown University states that “nearly 65 million Americans report a recent episode of back pain. Some 16 million adults — 8 percent of all adults — experience persistent or chronic back pain, and as a result, are limited in certain everyday activities.”
Back pain by itself isn’t rocket science; it’s pretty easy to understand, and you’ll know it when you feel it for yourself! It is a pain a person experiences in their back, usually along the spine or in the muscles attached to the spine. Acute back pain lasts for a short amount of time and normally goes away on its own, but chronic back pain is different, and in some cases, it’s much more serious.
Chronic back pain is pain that lasts for longer than 12 weeks. A person suffering from chronic back pain might say that their back feels better or worse depending on what time of day it is, but the pain is consistent and always debilitating. This kind of pain often interferes with a person’s ability to work and can even cause people to struggle with simple day-to-day tasks. If you’ve ever found yourself tempted to call out of work because of pain in your back, you’re not alone. Back pain is the sixth most costly condition in the United States and a major leader in work-loss days.
What causes chronic back pain in the first place?
Back pain symptoms vary from person to person. The main symptom of chronic back pain is intense pain in the upper, middle, or lower back region. Other symptoms might include limited mobility; you may find yourself unable to move your body like you were once able to. Even simple tasks that you once never thought twice about, such as getting up out of a chair or out of bed after waking up can be an incredibly painful experience. Lifting even light objects can cause the pain to intensify.
There are also several causes for experiencing back pain as well. Maybe the patient received a work-related accident or was in a car accident in which their back was injured. It could be that a patient was injured while lifting a piece of furniture too heavy for them to carry. Sometimes patients and their doctors know exactly what the root cause of the back pain was. In a majority of cases, back pain develops on its own over time, without one specific event that injured the person’s back. In fact, a 2014 article in the journal Clinical Radiology notes that in 90% of cases, patients can’t quite place the source of their back pain.
How can physical therapy help manage and eliminate back pain?
Physical therapy is a safe, effective, and smart way to treat back pain in people of all ages. In fact, there’s a substantial amount of medical literature out there proving this!
Ask yourself if “living with the pain” is really going to work long-term for you. If the answer is “no” then understand that working with a physical therapist is a proven method for improving the symptoms of chronic back pain. Oftentimes, the need for surgery can be alleviated and patients won’t need to depend on prescription painkillers if they follow through on the physical therapist’s recommendations.
A few ways a physical therapist may choose to treat your back pain are as follows:
- Active Physical Therapy: Your physical therapist has years of training and hands-on experience working with chronic back pain patients just like you. Your physical therapy plan might include specific stretches and exercises. This technique is known as “active” physical therapy. These exercises are great for strengthening the muscle groups that support your back and core. The stretches will be geared toward helping your body regain the flexibility and mobility you have lost as a result of your chronic back pain.
- Passive Physical Therapy: “Passive” physical therapy involves non-physical treatments which can help relax a patient’s muscles and bring relief from their pain. Exercise isn’t all physical therapy is made up of! With chronic back pain, this can involve hot and cold packs applied directly to affected areas, electrical stimulation of the muscle structures, and more.
- Long-Term Support: Physical therapy is not an overnight solution to your pain; oftentimes it takes months to fully recover from an injury. PT takes dedication and patience. It takes time to alleviate chronic back pain through stretching and exercise, and it’s easy to get discouraged if you try to do it on your own. Your physical therapist is there to help you by providing emotional and psychological motivation throughout your treatment journey until your back pain is a thing of the past.
Contact our physical therapy clinic to find relief from back pain
Surgery and painkillers are not the only options you have if you’ve been struggling with chronic back pain. Call Magnolia Physical Therapy to schedule a no-risk appointment with a physical therapist and begin your journey to a pain-free life.
- Clinical Radiology – Journal – Elsevierwww.journals.elsevier.com › clinical-radiology