February 14, 2020
Got back pain?
Does your back hurt? Studies have shown that more than 80% of us will have one or more significant episodes of low back pain in a lifetime and more than a third of us will have an episode in a given year. 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 from your primary care doctor have been shown to be helpful to decrease pain and reduce reactive muscle spasm to make you more comfortable. Medications should not be your only treatment, despite what many doctors still recommend. Newer research into 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 repeated recurrent episodes.
If your back pain isn’t rapidly calming down within a few days of taking it a little easy, visit your Physical Therapist for help. Don’t wait too long! Studies have shown that if you see a Physical Therapist, get a correct biomechanical diagnosis, and initiate treatment within 14 days of onset of persistent low back pain, your treatment outcomes are much better, symptoms will feel better faster and your overall costs of care are significantly reduced.
If you or one of your friends or family is suffering from low back pain don’t hesitate to reach out. We can help.
Tips for the Prevention 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 like computer work, studying, driving, watching TV or too much slouching. Stooping, lifting, gardening, and yard work can also create problems. Our Physical Therapists are trained to assess and treat your individual low back pain which may be different from your neighbor’s back pain.
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, take a couple laps around the home or office and MOVE YOUR BODY!
- Practice good posture while both seated and standing
- Set your workspace up to put your body in the best position. For tips, click here.
A little prevention goes a long way. Changing positions frequently, staying active, maintaining ideal weight, aerobic activity, core strengthening and managing stress can all help you maintain the healthy function of your spine.
Exciting side note about low back pain medical education in Spokane: Because of our recognized expertise in the treatment of low back pain, Therapeutic Associates Spokane Physical Therapy at Riverpoint has been invited to teach expanded versions of this material at two regional conferences for primary care providers. We will be presenting at the Nurse Practitioner Spring workshop on the WSU Medical Campus in March and at the Inland Northwest Primary Care Update in May!