Chronic back pain is pain that persists for three months and longer. This type of pain can be due to a variety of reasons, including arthritis of the spine, aging, disc problems and myofascial pain syndrome. With arthritis of the spine, there is a slow thinning of the cartilage inside the spine which can cause pain. A herniated or bulging disc may be compressing a nerve. With spinal stenosis, there is a narrowing of the spinal pain that can lead to nerve pain. Myofascial pain syndrome is unknown muscle tenderness and pain. Whatever the cause of your chronic back pain, it doesn’t have to be a part of your daily life.
How Physical Therapy Helps Alleviate Chronic Back Pain
If the back pain is due to spinal stenosis or a bulging disc, a physical therapist may initiate a repeated movement program to reduce numbness, pain or weakness. Progressive movement exercises like the McKenzie exercises may be included into the physical therapy treatment program. To treat a variety of causes of chronic back pain. Stabilization exercises may also be included to retrain the deep muscles. Your physical therapist will show you how to use the right spinal and abdominal muscles before beginning any exercises to stabilize the spine. Manipulation is another technique to alleviate chronic back pain. Short and rapid thrusting movements are done over a joint to reduce pain and increase mobility.
Multiple passive modalities are also used by a physical therapist to reduce chronic back pain. Heat and cold therapy may be used to increase blood flow, reduce inflammation and lessen pain. Ultrasound is a common passive modality that physical therapists utilize. Ultrasound uses sound waves for deep heating that penetrates the soft tissue. Not only does this method alleviate back pain, it enhances healing of the affected area. A transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulator (TENS) unit may be ordered by a physical therapist. This unit helps override painful signals sent to the brain. It can be used at home and on a long-term basis. Deep tissue massage is another common treatment for chronic back pain. This manual method increases oxygen and nutrients to the affected areas for healing and also helps reduce muscle spasms and stiffness.
According to the NCBI, ” In chronic low back without serious pathology, recommended primary conservative physical treatment preferences include exercise, yoga, biofeedback, progressive relaxation, massage, manual therapy, physical therapy and interdisciplinary rehabilitation. A recent literature review with meta-analysis in patients with chronic lower back pain found moderate- to high-quality evidence that McKenzie exercises in physical therapy were superior to other rehabilitation interventions in reducing pain and disability.”
If you’re suffering with chronic back pain, it’s time to take action. Go for an evaluation by our physical therapists. A physical therapist will collaborate with your doctor and develop a personalized treatment plan targeted to your specific condition. With both active and passive treatment methods, you’ll be on the road to reducing or eliminating your pain. At the end of the road, you’ll be able to engage in your regular activities with reduced or no pain. If you have any questions, contact RDL Physical Therapy today!