Does your back hurt all the time? Can’t seem to get comfortable or engage in your normal activities? Be sure to give us a call and schedule an appointment with one of our physical therapists. Our physical therapists can help lessen your pain or alleviate it entirely.
What Is Chronic Back Pain?
Most back pain is short term. It persists from a few days to a few weeks. Chronic back pain is pain that lasts for 12 weeks or more. About 20 percent of people who have back pain will have it develop into chronic back pain with persistent symptoms. Chronic back pain ranks number three on the scale for the most burdensome conditions for Americans.
Causes and Symptoms of Chronic Back Pain
Most chronic back pain causes are mechanical in nature. Some of the causes include:
- Sprains and strains
- Intervertebral disc degeneration
- Herniated discs
- Traumatic injury
Sprains and strains are caused by tears in the muscle, twisting or lifting improperly or overstretching. Disc degeneration occurs when the rubbery discs in the spine lose their integrity and no longer act as a cushion between discs. Herniated discs occur when the discs become compressed and bulge outward.
Radiculopathy is caused by injury, inflammation or compression of the spinal nerve root. It can occur with a herniated disc, too.
Sciatica is a type of radiculopathy due to compression of the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve is a large one and compression to it can cause a burning or shock-like pain that radiates to the leg and feet. It also may cause numbness and weakness in the leg.
Traumatic injuries can occur from falls, car accidents and sports. Damage to the ligaments, muscles and tendons can lead to chronic back pain as the result of a traumatic injury.
How A Physical Therapist Can Help With Chronic Back Pain
Physical therapy is often recommended by physicians for people with chronic back pain. The goal of physical therapy is to decrease back pain, increase function and provide education to avoid future recurrences. A physical therapy program typically has two components: passive treatment and active treatment.
Passive treatments can consist of ultrasound, ice and heat therapy, TENS units, electric shock, massage and stabilization techniques. Active treatments consist of stretching and targeted exercises to work on strength and stability of the spine. Physical therapists also give patients with chronic back pain a routine exercise program to do at home. Physical therapy also helps those with chronic back pain avoid depending on pain medications and having surgery.
According to the NBCI, “in chronic low back pain, the physical therapy exercise approach remains a first-line treatment and should be routinely used. “
If you’re suffering from chronic back pain, be sure to contact our office for a consult and an evaluation.
Our physical therapists will review your medical history, evaluate your function, determine your range of movement and develop a personalized treatment plan that will get you on the path to recovery. Our goal is to improve your quality of life and help you perform your daily routine.