The start of a new year is a good time to discuss one of the most common diagnoses we see in the clinic, and a condition that affects over 80% of all people at some point in their lifetime. Low back pain is the leading cause of activity limitation and work absence throughout the world 1, and costs the US economy $135 billion a year 2. Due to the increasing prevalence of low back pain and the negative impact it has on so many in our country, the need for more effective treatment continues to rise.

The traditional medical model of treating low back pain often involves many appointments with a number of different healthcare providers, resulting in a cycle of waiting, unnecessary imaging, medication, injections, and even surgery in more extreme circumstances. Outcomes in this model are poor, with 75% of patients reporting that they continue to have pain after 12 months 2. This process can result in expensive medical bills, prolonged pain, depression, and disability.

Research shows that as an alternative to the traditional model, patients who seek treatment in physical therapy within 14 days of initial onset of low back pain have better, quicker relief of symptoms and return to their prior activities sooner 2. Physical therapists are skilled in the evaluation and treatment of musculoskeletal impairments, making us a first-line resource for people experiencing low back pain. At your first visit, your PT will perform a thorough examination and get you started with a plan of care that is unique to you and designed to help you meet your goals. At Therapeutic Associates, we pride ourselves in helping you manage your symptoms, and providing an evidence-based treatment approach to fit your lifestyle.

Low back pain can be frightening and frustrating, but the good news is that even when pain is severe, the majority of the time it’s not caused by a serious problem and will likely get better. Lumbar symptoms can vary significantly, but even mild symptoms can be alarming and leave you with many questions or concerns. If you start to experience low back pain this year, do not hesitate to schedule an evaluation with us at Therapeutic Associates West Linn Physical Therapy to meet with one of our physical therapists and learn more about your back and what you can do to stay healthy and keep moving through 2020.

1) Low Back Pain: Clinical Practice Guidelines. (2012). Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy, 42(4), 381–381. doi: 10.2519/jospt.2012.0503
2) Brinker, T., Deppeler, D., Hoekstra, C., Temes, B., Katz, R., Wick, S., & Benson, J. (n.d.). Low Back Pain Revolution. Therapeutic Outlook.