Physical Therapy Can Help Relieve Chronic Low Back Pain Physical therapy is a leading profession involved in the diagnosis and treatment of low back pain. In fact, low back pain is one of the most common reasons people come to work with a physical therapist. Researchers in our field have even developed concise and comprehensive practice guidelines to help therapists manage this condition in their patients. Keep reading to learn how physical therapy can help you find meaningful relief from your lower back pain!
1. Many known risk factors for low back pain are preventable—a physical therapist can help you modify these. Low back pain is so common that most people will have it at least once in a lifetime. It’s not always clear what triggers back pain in the first place, and most experts agree that there are usually multiple issues at play, including activity level, occupation, age, family and medical history, and the presence of other health conditions like smoking, obesity, and diabetes. A physical therapist can work with you to help you identify and modify your preventable risk factors. For example, sitting too much is correlated with lower back pain. By helping you control your pain and improve your physical function and ergonomic environments, a physical therapist makes it easier for you to increase your physical activity level and minimize the amount of time you spend sitting.
2. A physical therapist can design customized treatment plans that can relieve and resolve your condition. Based on the current clinical practice guidelines created by the American Physical Therapy Association’s Orthopaedic Section, a person presenting with low back pain can be classified into one of several distinct treatment categories, based on a thorough examination. This type of systematic categorization is cost-effective and beneficial, since it helps patients receive services specifically designed for their needs. Thanks to their extensive training, a physical therapist can skillfully tease out hidden issues contributing to your back pain condition, such as nerve impingement, movement incoordination, poor core muscle activation, and range of motion limitations. These are issues that are often overlooked or under-addressed by other professionals—and explains why interventions that just provide symptom relief are often not effective in the long-term. In other words, if underlying issues like instability or incoordination aren’t addressed, your issue is likely to recur! By addressing the underlying causes of your back pain and then systematically managing these issues with personalized treatment based on research, a physical therapist can alleviate your symptoms and reduce your likelihood of chronic suffering.
3. Treatments provided by a physical therapist are drug-free, non-invasive, and safe for all ages. The risk for low back pain tends to increase with age, but people of all ages can struggle with this broad condition. Fortunately, physical therapy services that are proven effective for low back pain—including corrective exercises and spinal manipulation—are safe and appropriate for folks from all walks of life. If a specific service is contraindicated for you, your physical therapist can deliver plenty of other treatments to support your healing. Lastly, physical therapists are experts at identifying how low back pain limits a person’s participation in daily activities, and how these limitations can be resolved or compensated for. After all, your progress outside the clinic matters even more than your progress inside the clinic! Our physical therapy team always looks for the bigger picture of your condition and will help you modify your daily tasks in a way that will make you feel successful, safe, and confident.