The most frequent reason for people to visit a physical therapist is low back pain. Low back discomfort affects about 80% of the population at some point in their lives. According to the World Health Organization, 149 million working days are lost in the United States each year because to low back discomfort.
The majority of cases go away on their own in less than two weeks with little or no treatment, but sharp, shooting, or radiating back pain necessitates a prompt recommendation to avoid the symptoms from becoming severe.
Depending on your age, gender, and health status, you might be advised to take a break from exercising if your low back pain persists. Suppose you are in good physical condition with a regular fitness program and do not experience discomfort that extends into your legs. In that case, your low back discomfort is likely to go away without therapy.
Physical therapy is frequently recommended for people at risk of developing chronic low back pain. This is frequently the case with people suffering from excruciating, never-ending agony or symptoms that radiate into the legs and produce numbness and tingling.
Once we've eliminated any serious diseases that may necessitate immediate medical care, a physical therapist will develop a treatment program based on your goals and requirements.
While it may appear to be a good idea to stay in bed and wait for the discomfort to go away, this has been proven to hinder rather than aid in the natural healing process. Instead, it is recommended that you remain active by modifying or stopping your regular workout regimen as needed, with a gradual resumption of everyday activities.
Pain is generally a symptom of an injury, such as a wound or fracture, but low back discomfort is not. Low back pain can be continuous, yet it does not always imply the presence of a severe or long-term injury. X-rays and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans are frequently unreliable for determining the degree of discomfort a person feels. According to various research, MRI results appear to be "better" in certain individuals who experience higher levels of low back pain. The issue is why do patients' pain symptoms vary despite their MRI scans showing the same result?
Scientists have looked at how and why we feel pain to tackle this question. They've discovered that discomfort is a sensation generated by the brain when there is a danger or fear of injury to the tissues. During this process, the brain absorbs data from the rest of your body, memory, and feelings. Then the brain determines whether or not pain should be felt. Your nervous system perceives low back discomfort to be a major risk. You may feel vulnerable since your body has been injured, and this may cause you to stay in bed and rest. However, this is frequently the incorrect approach. Your doctor or physical therapist will most likely recommend that you keep exercising gently, which will allow you to get back on your feet much more quickly.
Knowing how to deal with pain will help you figure out which activities are good for you and which ones might be dangerous. In general, being active is better than being stationary. Walking, light exercise and domestic chores are all beneficial for your back on a daily basis. Excess loads on the low back, such as lifting hefty objects with poor control, can at times exacerbate the condition. You may find yourself avoiding certain activities because you are concerned about experiencing discomfort.
Graded activity is one physical therapy technique for overcoming your discomfort with activity that causes pain. This is a process of gradually increasing the actions that cause back discomfort. Graded-activity workouts decompose the harmful act into smaller, less painful movements. This approach encourages your nervous system to associate new, positive feelings about the activity.
The following are some of the themes that may be covered in a graded-activity lesson:
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle after your physical therapy treatment has concluded is critical. If you are not careful, low back discomfort may go away quickly but may recur soon if you do not take care of yourself. Those who have had back pain more than once understand that being proactive is crucial.
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Our physical therapists at Princeton Orthopaedic Associates employ graded activity and other research-based treatments to assist patients to get back to their work and leisure activities.