More often than not, people opt for invasive options like surgery and opioids to deal with chronic back pain. As per the study conducted by CDC in 2020, lower back pain was found to be one of the most common forms of pain reported by patients, with 25% of U.S. adults reporting LBP.
Dealing with chronic back pain is no joke, but did you know that there are various other options than just surgery and opioids to deal with this condition? If you have been suffering from chronic back pain and are looking to find some relief, it’s time you consider non-invasive options like physical therapy to get relief. Medical experts who are trained at understanding neurosciences can help. Visit DrNewMed’s pain management clinic in Arizona and Pennsylvania to start your chronic pain therapy treatment.
Pain is an essential function of the nervous system that alerts the body to warn of a potential threat. Learn how working with a physical therapist can be a better option for your chronic back pain.
What is Chronic Back Pain?
Back pain that lasts longer than 12 weeks is considered chronic. Although chronic back pain is usually age-related, it can also be a result of an injury. Chronic back pain sufferers may feel fluctuations in pain levels throughout the day, sometimes better, sometimes worse. Regardless, the pain is always consistent, interfering with one’s daily activities causing them to struggle even with the simplest tasks.
How do you identify Chronic Back Pain?
Ongoing intense pain in a localized area may be a symptom of chronic back pain. The pain may radiate from a central point and develop anywhere from the neck to the end of the spine. Lasting pain, soreness, throbbing pain, and body stiffness are some of the symptoms of chronic back pain. Sometimes, the pain may extend to the hips, legs, or feet as well.
It is difficult to recognize the exact cause of pain since it can originate from the bone, disc, nerves, or soft tissue. A person may injure his back in various ways. People who work at jobs that require heavy lifting are more likely to develop back pain. Work-related accidents, car accidents, obesity, bad posture, driving for long durations can cause back pain. Certain medical conditions like diabetes, fibromyalgia, reflex sympathetic dystrophy, and trauma can cause chronic pain too. Although, in some cases, patients can recognize the root cause of their back pain, most times, back pain develops gradually without a particular event that caused the injury.
How can Physical Therapy Alleviate Chronic Back Pain
It’s no secret that physical therapy is chronic back pain, in fact, there’s a substantial amount of medical literature out there proving just that. Ask yourself if “living with the pain” is really going to work long-term for you. If the answer is “no,” then understand that working with a physical therapist is a proven method for improving the symptoms of chronic back pain. Oftentimes, the need for surgery can be alleviated and patients won’t need to depend on prescription painkillers if they follow through on the physical therapist’s recommendations.
How Can a Physiotherapist Help?
After conducting a clinical examination, a physical therapist will formulate an individualized treatment plan that suits the patient’s treatment. He will help the patient improve movement, initiate pain management strategies to reduce pain.
Here are five ways physical therapy helps chronic back pain.
Physiotherapy can strengthen the back
Back pain can occur in cases where the back is not strong. A back becomes weak when muscles fail to adequately support the spine, causing problems in posture, which can lead to chronic musculoskeletal strain, pinched nerves, and vulnerability to acute injuries. A weak back can cause strain, inflammation, stiffness, and pain.
Physical therapy exercises can strengthen the muscles and provide the back with the right support. A therapist will carefully formulate exercises depending on the severity of the problem. Physical therapy will not only improve coordination and movement but will also reduce stress and strain on the body. The patient will be able to stand with a straight posture, experience lesser discomfort, and resist future injuries.
Physiotherapy can reduce Inflammation
Chronic back pain can cause persistent inflammation in certain areas of the back. Inflammation causes immense pain, swelling, and arthritis development, leaving the patient in constant discomfort and affecting the quality of life.
A physical therapist will use exercises to naturally increase circulation and reduce inflammation gradually. They may use techniques like cold laser therapy, heat applications, massage therapy, manual therapy, and ultrasound therapy to bust inflammation and increase blood flow and expel inflammatory substances.
Physiotherapy can increase Flexibility
Flexibility and a good range of motion is really important to reduce the risk of injury while engaging in physical activities. Connective tissues and muscles located in the back reflexivity tighten up when there is pain, making it stiff.
Stretches can loosen the stiffness and lengthen those muscles, increasing flexibility in the back. A physical therapist will preserve the joint’s range of motion and improve where it is lacks. He will prepare the muscles for tougher activities and relax the body and mind. A physical therapist can also aid restoration of movement in the joints post-surgery.
Physiotherapy can help you lead a healthy lifestyle
A healthy and active lifestyle is not easily achievable when someone is suffering from chronic back pain. Physical activity is the hardest when dealing with pain. Chronic back pain can result from various lifestyle choices such as carrying heavyweight, poor posture, sleeping on the wrong type of mattress, wrong exercises and other such unintentional mistakes.
A physical therapist is well-versed in analyzing such mobility issues and almost all other forms of physical activities like running, walking, stretching, and jumping. He will determine the problem areas and suggest healthy changes to build strength, improve balance, and relieve pain, all without invasive methods like surgery.
Physiotherapy can reset the brain’s alert system
When a person is dealing with ongoing pain, it may become hard for him to think clearly. There are eight areas of the brain- the premotor cortex, cingulate cortex, prefrontal cortex, amygdala, sensory cortex, hypothalamus, cerebellum and hippocampus that light up with pain making it difficult to focus on its primary function. Since pain affects several areas of the brain, multiple systems need to be addressed to calm the alert system.
A physical therapist understands the neuroscience of pain and will be able to educate the patient on how to calm the alert system and gradually move the body within normal limits once again. These treatments are individualized to set goals through mindful awareness techniques to manage activities that need to be addressed each day and help the person succeed.
Are you looking to get rid of your chronic back pain and improve your health, strength, and physical activity? If so, visit our pain management clinic in Pennsylvania and Arizona or opt for an online consultation to talk to our pain management experts to get started on your pain-free journey.