Back pain is one of the most common medical complaints. Degenerative conditions, such as osteoarthritis, spondylolisthesis (when a vertebra in the spine slips out of the proper position onto the bone below it), osteoporosis and herniated discs, are often the toughest to cope with because they can cause chronic back pain. Chronic back pain due to a degenerative condition may require surgery. But the good news is that most people can relieve back pain without surgery. When it comes to the lower back, disc-related symptoms are more common than symptoms related to the lumbar joints, muscles, ligaments and bones. If your back pain continues to flare up or gets progressively worse after a couple of weeks, see your physician.
For conditions such as osteoporosis and osteoarthritis, physical therapy is an important complement to medication you are taking under the guidance of your doctor. If you are merely having problems moving normally and without pain, however, a visit to our office can help. Initially, we will evaluate your health history, symptoms and lifestyle. We will measure your movements—assessing strength, range of motion and posture. Then, we will create an individualized treatment plan. This customized plan will help manage pain, improve strength, increase range of motion and enhance flexibility. Physical Therapy treatments may include:
- muscle-strengthening exercises
- hot and cold packs
- deep tissue massage
- stretches using a fitness ball
- low- or no-impact aerobic activities such as swimming
With or without surgery, however, most people with degenerative back pain can benefit from a comprehensive physical therapy program. Although chronic back pain is a challenge for many people, physical therapy can help you get moving more easily and feeling more like yourself again.