Physical therapy helps a wide array of musculoskeletal symptoms and conditions. It’s an excellent way to control both acute and chronic neck, mid-back, and lower back pain. Here’s more on the role of physical therapy in back pain management.
Seeing a Back Pain Specialist
Back pain may originate in a variety of ways. For instance, you may have a chronic and progressive spinal condition, such as spinal stenosis or degenerative disc disease–both of which can cause substantial discomfort and poor movement. Or, you may have suffered an acute injury from a sports collision or work-related task. Your back pain came on suddenly.
In any case, when pain persists, and simple rest, heat, and over-the-counter pain relievers produce little relief, you need the expertise of an orthopedic specialist.
Other warning signs which can accompany back pain and which warrant medical attention are:
- Numbness and tingling in the feet, legs, arms and hands
- Balance and/or gait problems
- Incontinence–bowel or urine or both
Do not delay in getting an orthopedic examination if you have these symptoms along with your back pain.
At our St. Peters and O’Fallon Clinics, we perform onsite digital X-rays, ultrasound imaging and MRIs as your orthopedic specialist deems necessary. These sophisticated tests pinpoint the area of injury and its nature–sprain versus fracture, or arthritis versus osteoporosis as examples.
Combined with your in-office assessment, these tests give the physician and other providers involved in your care the information necessary for a personalized treatment plan. Your treatment plan will target what’s causing your pain and help you find the relief you need to get back to your normal routines.
The Role of Physical Therapy in Back Pain Management
Physical therapists work with orthopedic patients to help them regain functionality, postpone, avoid, or rehab from surgery, adapt to physical and cognitive limitations, and manage pain. These healthcare providers perform functional capacity examinations, or FCEs, which tell them–in very precise and detailed ways–about a patient’s:
- Muscular strength
- Physical endurance and limitations
- Range of motion
- Ability to perform activities of daily living, such as dressing
With these measures, therapists formulate plans to improve weaknesses and to help people to be as independent, pain-free, and safe as possible.
PT and Back Pain Management
Your physical therapy care plan will involve a wide range of movements, including stretching and strengthening exercises that you will do both in the clinic and at home. You must do your strengthening and stretching regimens correctly and consistently.
In the clinic, your therapist will be on hand to help you learn the correct techniques. At home, follow up with your “homework” to build on the progress you make during your appointments.
Also, be sure you keep all your PT appointments. Tell your therapist about what seems to be working and what may not be as effective in relieving pain.
Besides strengthening and stretching routines, your physical therapist may use the following treatments to manage your back pain:
- Heat and cold application
- TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation)
- Instruction on correct posture when sitting, standing, and walking
- Instruction on proper body mechanics for various job tasks, especially lifting
- Durable medical equipment such as cervical collars, lumbar back braces, canes, and walkers
Your Back Pain Doctor in Wentzville, Missouri
At Advanced Bone & Joint, our board-certified and fellowship-trained orthopedic doctors and pain management specialists can offer you a range of treatment options for back pain relief. We regularly treat patients with back pain from work-related injuries, sports-related injuries, and much more. Our treatment plans are individualized and comprehensive for greater effectiveness and lasting relief.