Back Pain and Physical Therapy
People often come to us with significant pain in their upper and lower backs. The number one question we get is: How does physical therapy help back pain? And will it cure mine?
The issue of a “cure” is difficult because it depends on what exactly is happening within your back. Physical therapy can certainly help but you should seek trusted medical expertise before beginning physical therapy or any other form of treatment. We’ll discuss some of the more common causes of back pain and how physical therapy could play a role in the way you manage yours.
Why Do I Wake Up with Back Pain?
Studies show that 80% of Americans will experience spine symptoms at least once in their lifetime. 8% of those will experience chronic pain. Most people start experiencing symptoms between ages 28 and 41. Each episode of back stiffness and pain can become progressively worse and last longer. Eventually the affected area can expand beyond its point of origin.
Reasons for back pain vary from lifestyle triggers to genetic or medical conditions. Common causes include:
- Muscle or ligament strain. Heavy lifting, twisting or sudden movements can strain the muscles and ligaments holding your spine together. Torn muscles can lead to spasms.
- Bulging/Ruptured disk. Disks are the “cushions” between the bones (vertebrae) in your spine. When they rupture of become strained, they can press against your nerves and cause pain.
- Degenerative disk disease. If your disks degenerate, it can cause your vertebrae to rub.
- Arthritis. Osteoarthritis can cause pain in your lower back and lead to stenosis.
- Spinal stenosis. A condition where your spinal canal narrows. It can create pressure on your back and cause your legs or shoulders to go numb. Common for people over 60.
- Osteoporosis. This can lead to fractures or porous and brittle bones in your spine.
- Spondylolisthesis Vertebrae slip out of place, usually in your lower back. Can degenerate into arthritis.
- Accident or injury. Trauma from physical strain or car accidents can lead to severe back pain.
- Covid 19. While we’re still learning about the effects of Covid 19, back pain appears to be a common symptom.
- Pregnancy. That added weight can put a strain on your back and spine.
- Lifestyle triggers. Slouching, lifting, lack of exercise, sitting long periods, poor mattress, obesity, smoking and tension are all lifestyle triggers that can lead to back pain.
After age 30, all the years of straining the normal tissue from slouching eventually decreases your structural stability and your ligaments wear down. Thus, many issues with the spine and back come from bad posture.
How to Diagnose Your Back Pain
If you’ve been in an accident, have numbness or experience persistent back pain that doesn’t subside after rest, see your doctor. A medical professional like those at Odom can diagnose the source of your pain.
Through testing, X ray, and MRI, we can see where your back trauma is and understand the cause of it. We can also better prescribe the right treatment to help you feel better.
We here at Odom Health & Wellness can collaborate on your pain intervention and management plan with your spine doctor, potential surgeon, and/or primary care physician. Furthermore, depending on what the root cause of the pain is, we can create progress reports and treatment plans based on what our physical therapist observes when you come in for treatment.
Will Physical Therapy Help My Back Pain?
Physical therapy alone may not be effective. Physical therapy for lower back pain and other spinal issues targets the joints and soft tissue in between your vertebrae. P.T. can help, but there are other factors that need to be considered. When you start physical therapy, your doctor will likely suggest other approaches to complement your treatment.
The Odom Difference
The benefit of a wellness clinic like Odom is you have immediate access to specialists in multiple disciplines who use different treatments to stop back pain. Our physical therapists can help alleviate your back and muscle pain but they may work in conjunction with a massage therapists, dry needling specialist or weight loss expert to address all the causes of your back pain.
Schedule Today for Less Back Pain Tomorrow
If you have back pain and haven’t seen a doctor yet, make an appointment with Odom today. Dr. John Odom can assess you and your symptoms and decide if you should move forward with physical therapy or if you need to see a specialist first. Our patient’s health is always our first concern.