Using Physical Therapy for the Relief of Back Pain

August 23rd, 2012
Using Physical Therapy for the Relief of Back Pain

A patient who is constantly suffering from lower back pain is normally referred to a physical therapist.  A period of treatment is usually undergone before a patient is referred to aggressive surgical procedures.

The basic goal of physical therapy when it comes to dealing with back pain is to relieve it.  Other goals can also be added like increasing bodily function and teaching the patient how to prevent it from recurring.

Back pain is normally addressed using these common methods:

  1. Modalities are treatments which are done to patients with back pain.  These can be in the form of heat and cold packs and also electrical stimulation.  When applying an ice pack, wrap the affected area first with paper towel or wet cloth.  This will avoid burning the tissue due to too much cold.  To improve the benefits from an ice pack, it is best to rest the affected area first, wrap the ice pack and the apply pressure to minimize swelling.  It possible, elevate the affected area as well.

Application of heat therapy should be done carefully.  There are instances wherein its incorrect application can cause the back pain to worsen.  Avoid applying heat if the tissues are still inflamed.  Applying heat at a temperature too high or for a long period should also be avoided.  Heat therapy at a temperature too low will also be ineffective.

With the proper usage of heat therapy, a patient should get the benefits of back pain control, increase in blood flow in the affected area and decrease in muscle tension and spasms.

  1. Exercises are used to help the patient recover from back pain problems.  Continued exercises can also prevent any recurrence or minimize the intensity its recurrence.

An exercise plan with the combination of stretching, stabilization and core strengthening movements are normally used to assist patients suffering from back pain. Proper stretching of the affected muscles will help in maintaining full range of motion.  It also provides relief for muscles that atrophy.  A customized stretching routine can be created for the patient.  They should focus mainly on stretching the muscles of the lower back, of the abdomen, the hips and the legs.

Stabilization and core strengthening exercises targets the secondary spine muscles and helps to support the spine when doing different of ranges of motion.  Common exercises are sit-ups, leg raises and crunches.

Once a patient’s back pain condition has been successfully treated with physical therapy, therapists highly recommend that a maintenance program be followed to minimize and prevent any future recurrence.