It has been estimated that about 100 million Americans suffer from chronic pain. Over-the-counter pain medications may provide temporary pain relief, but are generally not considered a good long term solution. Physical therapy, on the other hand, can provide good long term relief for chronic pain conditions such as lower back pain.
Physical therapy options for back pain can be divided into:
Passive Physical Therapy Modalities: These are treatments performed on the patient and include application of heat and cold packs, TENS units which stimulate the sensory nerves in the area of pain, ultrasound therapy that delivers heat and energy to relieve pain, and massage therapy.
Active Physical Therapy Modalities: These treatments require active patient participation and include stretching exercises that can be done every day to help limber up the spine and surrounding anatomical structures, strengthening exercises to improve core strength and back strength which should be done 2-3 times a week, functional exercises to improve posture when performing routine activities, and low impact aerobic exercises such as walking, riding a stationary bike, or swimming.
Participation in physical therapy can help patients wean off pain medications that can cause harmful side effects, help improve outcomes for patients undergoing surgery, and reduce the risk of the problem recurring.
Don’t delay seeking a medical treatment for back pain that isn’t improving after a few days of rest. The longer you are not moving, the weaker your body becomes. By getting a painful condition evaluated at an early stage when symptoms are mild, you increase the likelihood of being able to fully treat the problem with non-invasive treatments like physical therapy.
Dr Payam Moazzaz specializes in advanced minimally invasive spine surgery that enables faster recovery and return to active lifestyles. For all appointments and inquiries, please call (760) 904 5444.