Back pain is the most common reason for missed work and job-related disabilities. According to statistics, about 31 million Americans experience back pain at any given time, and expenses related to treatment and medication reach at least $50 billion each year.
Physical therapy (PT) is often necessary after an episode of back pain has lasted several weeks, or if there are frequent recurrences of the pain. Many spine specialists consider this treatment sooner, especially if the pain is severe.
Administering PT Program
Experts from Allcare Physical Therapy agree that professionals who understand the special needs and limitations of back pain should guide the PT program. One study suggested that people who planned their own routines did worse than those who undergo professionally directed programs.
The main goals of PT are to increase function, reduce pain, and provide awareness to prevent the recurrence of pain. Physical therapy for back pain usually includes active exercises and passive therapy.
Active and Passive Therapy
Active physical exercises are necessary to rehabilitate the spine. This usually involves stretching and strengthening for relieving pain, and low-impact aerobic conditioning for long-term pain relief. It is important to perform exercises correctly with the help of a physical therapist to start seeing the benefits.
Passive physical therapies, on the other hand, focus on relieving pain with passive modalities. These include heat/ice packs, ultrasound, manual therapies, and electrotherapy with transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation (TENS) units. Both types of therapy work to achieve the same goals. They aim to reduce pain, improve mobility, and stimulate healing.
Strategies for Preventing Back Pain
Physical therapy will also inform you about how to prevent and reduce the recurrence of pain. Helpful strategies include keeping the body in alignment, maintaining good posture, and keeping a good body positioning at work, home, or during leisure activities.
It is important to keep in mind that each individual will have a different response to physical therapy. This is because people have different body types, patterns of movements, and habits. Physical therapists can monitor each individual to correct improper habits and relieve pain.