When you’re suffering from debilitating back pain, it can affect your morale and your ability to perform daily activities at home and at work. Although medications and other treatments help temporarily, physical therapy may help ease your discomfort long term.
At the Spine and Orthopedic Center of New Mexico, back pain isn’t something we take lightly. Dr. Omar Osmani, who specializes in advanced treatments for all kinds of back pain, recommends physical therapy to many of our patients to reduce pain and increase mobility.
Causes of chronic back pain
Back pain is common, especially if you’re active or have a physically demanding occupation. It’s also very limiting, which can be frustrating when you can’t seem to find a treatment option that helps. The key is to find the treatment that addresses the root cause of your back pain.
But exactly what’s causing your pain? Injuries — from mild muscle strains to fractured vertebrae — are common culprits. But other conditions may also lead to back pain. Some of these issues come on suddenly, while others gradually affect your spine over time. A few of the conditions that lead to chronic back pain include:
If your back pain stems from spinal degeneration, treatment may be complicated. Surgery may be an option if more conservative therapies fail to help, but sometimes, physical therapy is the best treatment for back pain.
Physical therapy and back pain — can it help?
Physical therapy is a treatment that helps decrease your pain while improving your range of motion and flexibility. This type of treatment can be used for just about any area in your body, including your back.
Physical therapy consists of two main components — active activity and exercise and passive range of motion. Active exercises are activities you perform on your own to strengthen your back muscles and improve your mobility.
Passive range of motion is when your physical therapist uses different techniques to help decrease the amount of pain in your back. Some of the methods used in passive physical therapy include:
- Ultrasound therapy
- Electrical stimulation
- Heat therapy
Depending on the area of your pain, our therapist may use more than one of these to relax your muscles and improve spinal function and range of motion.
Usually, a combination of both of these forms of physical therapy is used to treat your discomfort. Therapy typically starts with passive range of motion to help ease some of your discomfort. Once your pain is at a manageable level, you move on to active movements and exercise to increase your strength and mobility.
Active therapy incorporates stretching to increase flexibility and strength training to build muscle and stabilize your spine. You may also do some light aerobic activities to increase your stamina and help stop your pain.
Our physical therapists also consider your posture when evaluating your back pain, because poor posture puts unnecessary strain on your back muscles, often leading to intense pain. Our therapists help you to improve your posture both sitting and standing to decrease pressure on your spine.
Physical therapy is one of the best treatment modalities for back pain, as it focuses on long-term pain reduction through therapeutic exercise and manual manipulation. It can also be continued long after your appointments through a home treatment regimen.
When you’re ready to kick your back pain to the curb and start physical therapy, call the Spine and Orthopedic Center of New Mexico team at 575-623-9101 or book an appointment online today.