Got Back Pain?

young man holds lower back in pain

Therapeutic Associates

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Does your back hurt? You are not alone! Studies have shown that more than 80 percent of us will have one or more significant episodes of low back pain in our lifetime. In any given year, more than one-third of us will have an episode of low-back pain.

What can I do for low back pain?

Low back pain has many different causes and that is why treatment needs to be individualized. Treatment approaches that help one person might be completely wrong for another person. Low back pain does not have a “one size fits all” solution!

When you are having a period of severe low back pain it can be very scary. However, be reassured, even though it can hurt a lot, most causes of low back pain are not serious in nature and don’t require X-rays, MRI studies, invasive medical procedures or potentially dangerous medications such as opioids. Low back pain can usually be treated with conservative biomechanical care such as specific manual therapy to the joints or soft tissues, spinal stabilization exercises, movement patterns that are direction specific or postural corrections.

Early on in a low back pain episode, anti-inflammatory medications and/or muscle relaxers that your primary care doctor prescribes have been shown to be helpful in decreasing pain and reducing reactive muscle spasms to make you more comfortable. Medications should not be your only treatment, however. Newer research about the typical course of low back pain has demonstrated that treating only the pain symptoms without fixing the underlying cause (which is often biomechanical) is setting up many people for chronic problems with recurrent pain episodes.

If your back pain isn’t calming down within a few days of taking it a little easy, it is best to seek the care of a physical therapist. Don’t wait too long! Studies have shown that if you get a correct biomechanical diagnosis and initiate physical therapy treatment within 14 days of the onset of persistent low back pain, you will feel better faster as your symptoms subside, your treatment outcomes are much better and your overall costs of care are significantly reduced. Fortunately, physical therapy is a direct access healthcare service – meaning you can see a physical therapist without a referral from a doctor.

How can I prevent low back pain?

A common cause of low back pain today is sitting too long in poor postures. We can put too much stress on our backs in forward-bent positions. Examples include prolonged seated activities such as working all day at a computer, studying (Check out our blog spotlighting 10 tips for a proper workstation!), driving, watching TV or simply too much slouching. Stooping, repeated lifting, gardening, and yard work can also create problems.

Here are some general guidelines that may help the majority of us prevent an episode of low back pain:

  • Take breaks from sitting often. Stretch, walk a couple of laps around the house or office and MOVE YOUR BODY!
  • Practice good posture while both seated and standing. Add some posture exercises to your daily routine!
  • Set your workspace up to put your body in the best position. Ergonomics is fitting the job to the person, not the person to the job!

A little prevention goes a long way. Changing positions frequently, staying active, maintaining ideal weight, doing aerobic activity, strengthening your core and managing stress can all help you maintain the healthy function of your spine.

Start your PT journey today.

Our physical therapists are trained to assess and treat your individual low back pain which may be different from your neighbor’s back pain. So, if you find yourself limiting your daily activities due to low back pain for more than a few days, find a Therapeutic Associates Physical Therapy clinic near you and let our experts work with you to get to the root of the problem and to create a customized plan for recovery.

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