In the old days, when you hurt your back, your doctor told you to go on bed rest for back pain until it felt better. However a lot has been discovered since then and gone are the days of prolonged bed rest. Most often, engaging in proper movements and postures are well as a gradual return to activities has been found to be much more successful in terms of controlling pain and allowing patients to return to normal activities faster.
Consistent findings show that bed rest for back pain is not an effective treatment for pain, but may actually delay you from recovering. Advice to stay active and continue modified ordinary activity results in a faster return to work, less chronic disability and fewer recurrent problems.
It has also been found that exercise and aerobic activity, like walking, assists in bringing nutrients to structures in the spine. Some of these structures, like the discs between your vertebrae, have a relatively poor blood supply and rely on body movements and aerobic activity to circulate nutrients. When a person is inactive, less of these nutrients are able to get to the structures in the spine to keep them healthy.
Bed rest and inactivity have been shown to weaken muscles and bones. Exercise in general, increases strength and flexibility of the muscles and aids in healing by increasing blood flow to the affected area. In treating back pain, physical therapists with patients to put a plan together to ease them back into doing pain-free activities. PT’s use individual health history, abilities, interest and availability to create a unique rehabilitation plan.
In addition to exercise, physical therapy for back pain utilizes a variety of gentle modalities, such as ultrasound, electric stimulation, massage, and thermal therapy to help relieve muscular spasms. Physical therapy excels in the use of muscular strengthening exercises to build stability. Going to physical therapy instead of choosing bed rest for back pain will help relieve pain faster, which means fewer repeat visits to the doctor with same complaint.
A physical therapy program for back pain is designed to be active in nature and is can often times be geared towards instructing patients in self care techniques and back injury prevention. With all of these tools available patients can get back to being pain free and enjoying every day activities.
If you need physical therapy for back pain make sure to find a PT near you.