Leveraging Physical Therapy to Relieve Pain


Back pain chattanooga

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke has indicated 80% of adults will experience lower back pain. Seeking relief from chronic lower back pain remains one of the leading causes for a visit to the doctor. Interestingly, physical therapy can help address the underlying problems that lead to back pain, shoulder pain, and neck pain. Many people don?t realize the reason they are in pain can often be treated with physical therapy.

There are many sources of pain which can be effectively addressed with the use of physical therapy. After a doctor has evaluated the cause of the pain, he or she will determine the best course of action. If physical therapy could be beneficial they will write a referral for services to begin.

Components of Physical Therapy

The primary goal of physical therapy for back pain is to increase the functional movement of the patient and decrease the pain. There are typically two components to a physical therapy regimen: passive physical therapy and active exercises.

Passive physical therapy can include several modalities such as alternating heat and ice packs, TENS units, iontophoresis, and ultrasound. These are all passive components of physical therapy because they can occur without the active participation of the patient.

Active Physical Therapy

Active physical therapy requires the active participation of the patient. These are usually a carefully selected group of exercises designed to strengthen the back and core muscles to increase stability and functionality and to offer long-term pain relief.

Stretching is one of the most common ways for a physical therapy session to begin. Patients are often surprised to learn they need to stretch more than their back to see results. For instance, hamstring muscles should be stretched once or twice daily for most people suffering from back pain as inflexibility in that area can lead to more pronounced pain.

Strengthening exercises are another important component of physical therapy. These exercises will be used to build strength in the back and core muscles which are used to stabilize the spine. These exercises must be performed correctly and regularly for the patient to experience significant improvement. Typically these exercises will be performed in the office while the patient learns the correct positioning but they will also need to be done at home.

Low impact aerobic exercises are also important for reducing pain. It can help reduce excess weight which may be contributing to the pain and increase the range of motion and flexibility. Some of the most popular forms of low impact exercises include walking, swimming, and biking. Some physical therapist will integrate water therapy as part of the healing process.

Finding the right combination of treatment is important for decreasing a patient?s pain. Many time physical therapy is an integral part of the treatment plan.

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