Before a more aggressive treatment would be considered, patients with back pains are usually referred to physical therapists first as an initial treatment option. Physical therapy is aimed to reduce the pain, restore function and educate patients how to prevent the back pain from re-occurring.
Physical therapy techniques for back pain include heat therapy, mobilization, massage and exercises. Stabilization and strengthening of the lumbar spine is also a very important aspect of the rehabilitation program as well as teaching the patients about body mechanics and posture. These techniques can be applied to both patients undergoing surgical and non-surgical care. Physical therapy is also important to pre-operative and post-operative patients because recovery is quicker when patients are in optimal physical condition.
Even with direct access, patients suffering from back pain are advised to consult a physician before seeing a physical therapist. This is to exclude any contraindication for physical therapy such as tumor or a fracture. One the initial stage of physical therapy techniques for back pain is over, patients are advised to follow a Home Exercise Program to manage and prevent back pain.
Physical therapists are highly trained individuals in the mechanics of the human body and have determined the proper body positioning to help reduce or prevent back pain. Physical therapy techniques for back pain will make optimal use of postures, movements and positions to eliminate pain. Physical therapists have identified optimal positions that actually control back pain. Here are some that can be applied to daily activities:
- Sleeping: Assume a neutral position, either sleeping on your side or on your back.
- Driving: Stay upright with straight arms out and shoulders back.
- Using a computer: Sit back in the chair with the computer screen at eye level
- Reading: Don’t read while lying in bed. Instead, sit with back against the headboard
- Gardening: Take a lot of breaks and don’t do long gardening sessions.
- Cleaning: Keep spine in a neutral position by squatting or half kneeling.
- Watching television: Don’t slouch. Sit up straight. Get up from time to time and move around.
Physical therapy techniques for back pain will be more effective if the patients are actively participating in their recovery. The physical therapists can accomplish this by involving patients from evaluation to the actual treatment and care. Key factors that ensure success of the physical therapy for back pain are proper instructions of the patients in self-care techniques and prevention of back injury.