Physical Therapy For Back Pain
Back to Action helps patients with many different conditions. Please click on the body areas highlighted in the diagram below for information on common conditions we treat and how physical therapy can help you.
SPRAIN / STRAIN
LOW BACK PAIN
MID BACK PAIN
SCIATICA & RADIATING PAIN
SPINAL ARTHRITIS AND SPINAL STENOSIS
HERNIATED OR BULGING DISC
POST SURGERY REHAB
SPRAIN / STRAIN
About Head and Neck Post-surgery RehabThere are many different types of surgeries that are necessary for stabilizing the neck or cervical spine. Common surgeries include “cervical fusion” and “discectomy”. In a cervical fusion one or more bones (vertebrae) are fused in the neck to stabilize the area. This may be due to fractures or for other reasons such as the removal of a disc between the vertebrae “discectomy”.
How physical therapy helps back strains and sprainsAfter surgery, our physical therapists work with you and your physician to follow a specific protocol of rehabilitation that reduces pain quickly, improves motion, increases strength, minimizes swelling and returns you to activities as soon as possible. Call us today to learn more about our post-surgery rehabilitation program.
LOW BACK PAIN
About Low Back PainLow back pain is one of the most common conditions seen by physicians across the country. It is said that over 80% of people will suffer some sort of low back pain during their lifetime. Low back pain can occur for a variety of reasons, but typically all have one or more of the following factors:· Poor motion and mobility · Spinal, abdominal or hip weakness · Poor coordination of the spinal, abdominal and pelvic musclesWhile there are many items to mask low back pain, such as medication, it is important to address the true causes of low back pain. Most low back pain is caused by the 3 factors above. When your spinal joints and muscles don’t move properly, tremendous strain occurs in your low back. This causes irritation and inflammation, which build up over time. Typically, low back pain suffers will have more pain after sitting or lying down for prolonged periods, such as getting up from a chair or first thing in the morning after sleeping. With severe pain, reaching or bending down for objects can be limited.If pain is felt more with prolonged standing or walking, this can be a result of significant hip or spinal weakness, again causing strain to the low back. With weakness in the spinal, abdominal or hip muscles, the amount of force transferred to the back with everyday activities increases. With bending down, the knees are often not used properly, and the muscles of the spine have to do extra work. This sets up the person for injury with lifting or even something as simple as bending down to tie one’s shoes. >
How physical therapy helps low back painPhysical therapy is one of the best choices to treat low back pain. By addressing the three main issues, your normal back movement and strength can be restored. Our physical therapists focus on your posture, spinal mobility, strength, flexibility and the way you move your body (body mechanics). As we observe and measure these indicators, we can detect weak areas and evaluate where your primary problem is coming from.A thorough plan is then worked out to address your core issues and relieve your low back pain quickly. This allows you to have fast pain relief, improving your spinal range of motion and body strength. We also focus on prevention of future injuries and educate you on proper poster and body mechanic techniques. If you are suffering with low back pain, call us today for fast back pain relief that will get you back to your favorite activities quickly!
MID BACK PAIN
About Mid back painMid back pain refers to pain in the “thoracic” spine. This is the area from the shoulders down to the mid back area. Pain in this area can be for a variety of reasons, but typically occurs from poor posture or a forward slouched posture. With this posture, your back muscles stretch out, causing weakness. Pain can often feel like a burning or sometimes shooting pain to the mid back area. At times, pain can even feel like it is radiating under the shoulder blade. However, with most mid back pain, it can be difficult to really pinpoint the area it is hurting.
Physical therapy for mid back painPhysical therapy is very important in treating mid back pain. Our physical therapists work with you to discover spinal areas that may not be moving ideally. This limitation in movement can cause strain on the sections above and below that affected area. By improving spinal joint mobility, soothing sore muscles and restoring posture, your mid back pain can be relieved quite quickly.We then educate you on proper strengthening and postural techniques to maintain your gains in therapy. Call us today to discover how we can relieve your mid back pain quickly and return you to a pain-free life.
SCIATICA & RADIATING PAIN
What is Sciatica?Sciatica is the term used to describe radiating pain into the buttock that can travel down the back of the thigh. Often this pain is achy and spread out along these areas. Sciatica is a result of irritation to the sciatic nerve, which travels deep in the buttock and down the back of the leg. In about 20% of people, the sciatic nerve pierces through the piriformis muscle deep in the buttock instead of under it. This can make the sciatic nerve more susceptible to irritation and pressure from the piriformis muscle. The piriformis muscle helps guide hip movement, but can become very tight with prolonged sitting. This increased tightness causes pressure and irritation to the sciatic nerve causing pain.
What is Radiating Pain?Radiating pain to the leg doesn’t necessarily mean you have sciatica, but it does tell you that something is wrong. Irritated muscles and tissue often can radiate pain. Spread-out, achy pain is often indicative of this type of problem. Sharp, stabbing pain with numbness or tingling is more nerve irritation or compression occurring in the low back or leg. These types of sensations typically occur to specific parts of the leg.Physical therapy for sciatica Physical therapy is one of the best treatments for Sciatica and radiating pain into the leg. It first takes a thorough evaluation to determine where your problem is starting. Our physical therapists take time to examine the movement of your spine, hips and legs. Range of motion, strength, joint mobility and muscle condition are assessed by our physical therapists. After we determine the root cause of your problem, we put together a comprehensive plan to quickly relieve your pain, relieve your radiating symptoms, improve your range of motion, improve strength and help you to prevent future episodes. With gentle, specialized hands-on techniques we work to improve your spinal and hip mobility, reducing pressure on your sciatic nerve. In addition, modalities such as heat, ice, electrical stimulation and ultrasound may be used to reduce inflammation and resolve your pain quickly. We then perform gentle stretching and strengthening exercises to restore your normal motion and strength. This results in lasting effects that will stop your pain from returning. Call us today to find out how we can relieve your Sciatica and radiating leg pain, returning you to the activities you love.
SPINAL ARTHRITIS AND SPINAL STENOSIS
What is Spinal Arthritis?Spinal Arthritis is a very common area for osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. The low back takes a tremendous strain throughout our lifetime, supporting the body, moving, sitting and repetitively bending. In addition to these contributing factors, arthritis can also be affected by genetics, age, previous injuries, diet and exercise. With abnormal forces on the back, the cartilage on the joints at each level of the spine can rub down causing even wear, build up of bone and eventually bone on bone rubbing. This can result in painful movement of the spinal joints and chronic, achy pain in the low back. Much like an arthritic knee, the spinal joints are helped through restoring natural movement, improving support from the spinal muscles and proper posture.
What is Spinal Stenosis?Spinal Stenosis is a condition that typically goes hand in hand with spinal arthritis. Spinal stenosis refers to a narrowing of the central spinal canal or the canals where the nerves exit the spine to the lower legs (called foramen). These canals are made up of overlapping spinal bones (vertebrae) over another. With degeneration of the spinal joints, collapsing of the disc height or abnormal bone growth, the canals can narrow. This leads to rubbing and even pressure on the nerves, which can cause a multitude of symptoms.
Physical therapy for Arthritis and Spinal StenosisPhysical therapy can have a very positive effect on patients with spinal arthritis and spinal stenosis. While our therapists cannot revert your arthritis degeneration, we can restore more natural movement to the spinal joints, improve flexibility to increase joint fluid circulation, improve spinal muscle strength and educate you on correct posture and prevention techniques. The result is that you can do more, with less pain. Often, patients report significant reduction in pain and improvement in daily activities from just a few short weeks of physical therapy. Call us today to find out more how we can help you have pain relief from spinal stenosis!
HERNIATED OR BULGING DISC
What is Herniated or Bulging Disc?A disc is a jelly like, fluid filled sac that acts as a cushion between the bones of your neck (vertebrae). Your discs change as you age, drying out and becoming more brittle. In addition, as the discs dry out with age, the change in height between the vertebrae decreases, causing changes in posture and function. In younger adults, the center of the disc (nucleus) is held in place by many rings of the disc (picture a cross section of a tree trunk). With minor or major injuries, poor posture and strain, these rings can rupture allowing a pressing outward of the disc nucleus. Finally, as the nucleus reaches the outer edges, the disc can begin to bulge, which in turn can rub and irritate nerve roots exiting your spine. In more severe cases, the disc can become herniated, which further presses into the spaces where nerves are exiting. Symptoms can range from localized pain, to numbness / tingling to a specific part of the shoulder, arm or hands. In more severe cases complete lack of sensation, muscle weakness and paralysis of an area of the upper extremity can occur. Changes in posture, strength and range of motion can all affect the positioning of the disc and how much bulging or herniation is occurring.
How physical therapy helpsThe good news is that the majority of bulging and herniated discs can be treated conservatively with physical therapy. By working with your medical history, symptoms and testing, our physical therapists can determine what areas have been affected. A thorough plan is then created to relieve pressure on the disc by improving joint function, muscle strength and posture. Modalities, such as ultrasound or electrical stimulation may be used to reduce pain, muscle spasm or inflammation. Our therapists work with you to recover lost strength and range of motion. In addition, we then train you on the correct exercises to maintain good posture and reduce the risk of future episodes. Call us today to discover how we can help relieve your pain quickly and restore your function!
What is Osteoporosis?Osteoporosis is a very common condition in women after the age of 40, but men do suffer from this condition too. Osteoporosis is a thinning of the bones due to the change in calcium depositing and uptake. As we age, this cycle tends to take out more calcium than is put into our bones. Common areas for osteoporosis are in the spine and hips. Osteoporosis makes people more susceptible to fractures from ordinary activities. Often, compression fractures in the spine a crumbling of the bone. A lot can be done to address osteoporosis and even improve bone strength. This comes from strengthening exercises, medication, a good walking program and proper nutrition.
How physical therapy helps OsteoporosisSince strengthening is a critical part of osteoporosis management, physical therapists are experts in preparing a coordinated, easy-to-do exercise program to target specific osteoporotic areas. Often, people with osteoporosis will also have limited spinal and hip movement, which increases the stresses on bones. Physical therapists are experts at treating these limitations and restoring your body to a more optimum state. We work in conjunction with your doctor to program out a specific treatment plan for you ensuring a road to stronger bones and injury prevention. Call us today to discover how we can help your osteoporosis!
What is Spondylolisthesis?Spondylolisthesis is a condition by where one spinal bone (vertebrae) is not in alignment with the other. Typically, a slippage forward is found in the very low back at the 4th or 5th lumbar (low back) vertebrae. This is due to a stretching out of the ligaments that hold the bones together or possibly a fracture. With poor posture and weakened abdominals as well as spinal muscles, the increase in the angle of the spine becomes too much over time and misalignment of the bones occurs. Symptoms can be mild such as general fatigue to the low back, achy pain or severe symptoms if there is compression on the nerves exciting the spine or spinal cord. There are varying degrees of severity. Most fall into a mild to moderate category that can be stabilized with improved posture and muscle strengthening. In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to fuse the area and bring stability back.
How physical therapy helps SpondylolisthesisPhysical therapy helps to bring stability and support to the low back pain allowing the muscles to create more support for the overstretched ligaments. We work with you and your physician to create a program that improves mobility in other spinal areas that may be inflexible, strengthen key muscles to stabilize the spine and educate you on the proper techniques to maintain spinal stability. Other areas may need to be addressed such as hip weakness, poor balance or radiating symptoms to the legs. Physical therapy can help treat the root source of these symptoms and get you back to feeling great quickly. In the event that surgery is required we will be with you every step of the way to ensure a thorough recovery.
What are Degenerative Diseases?Degenerative diseases of the spine fall under the categories of Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD) or Degenerative Joint Disease (DJD). In the spine, this is typically due to age and genetics. The wearing down of the joints or discs causes loss in normal height of the bony segments in the back. This can cause excessive joint pressures, bone on bone rubbing and increased inflammation. Typically with DDD or DJD comes stiffening of the spinal joints and weakening of key spinal muscles.
How physical therapy helps Degenerative DiseasesWhile the degenerative process cannot be reversed, there is a lot that can be done to improve mobility, reduce pain, improve strength and improve function. Physical therapy is the ideal, non-invasive treatment that helps to improve spinal flexibility, core muscle strength, reduce pain and improve posture. All of these contribute to less pain and a return to normal or modified activities. Call us today to discover how we can help your back pain and return you to the activities you love!
About Compression FracturesCompression fractures in the low back typically occur in older individuals and those suffering from osteoporosis. However, with severe trauma, such as in an accident, the force can cause a compression fracture in the bones of the spine (vertebrae). There are many minimally invasive surgical procedures today that can stabilize the broken area, such as kyphoplasty. The goal with managing compression fractures is to stabilize pieces of bone from moving around and allow time for the bone to heal. Dealing with a compression fracture can be quite painful. Difficulty with getting up/down from bed, a chair and even difficulty walking are experienced.
How physical therapy helps Compression FracturesOur physical therapists work with your physician’s protocols for compression fractures. Based on your individual difficulties, we work with you to gently rehabilitate your spinal movement and strength. Our physical therapists have years of training in helping patients with back injuries and will work with you to relieve your pain, improve your mobility, strength and get you back to normal activities as soon as possible. Call us today to discover how we can help you relieve your back pain and get back to normal activities!
POST SURGERY REHAB