Did you know that approximately 80 percent of Americans have experienced (or will experience) back pain? That’s a depressing statistic, especially if you’re already one of those sufferers. Chronic back pain can prevent you from performing the countless daily tasks you need or want to perform. Even when you’re not engaged in activity, your back pain may be keeping you miserable 24/7. But don’t assume that drugs can provide more than temporary relief, or that surgery won’t create more problems than it solves. Instead, go with the healthy, natural way to kiss your back pain goodbye — through physical therapy.
Drugs and Surgery: Two Back Pain Solutions That Cause Fresh Problems
Back pain can be either acute or chronic in nature. Acute back pain often occurs as the direct result of torn muscles or other sudden, intense damage. But as agonizing as cute back pain may be, at least you have the comfort of knowing that your pain will probably subside as the injury heals. Chronic back offers no such comfort. By definition, any kind of chronic pain lasts for more than 3 months, either attacking you in bouts or plaguing you with constant discomfort. The underlying cause is often progressive and/or irreversible. Common causes of chronic back pain include:
- Bulging or herniated discs
- Chronic muscle strain from an unbalanced posture or weak back muscles
- Degenerative conditions such as osteoarthritis of the spine
- A narrowing of the spinal canal known as spinal stenosis
- An old back injury that failed to heal properly, leaving you with internal scarring and chronic stiffness
Drugs can relieve chronic back pain, but only imperfectly. After a few hours of lessened symptoms, you have to take another dosage, and then another. If you’re using opioids to dull your pain, you can end up in a frightening cycle of increased tolerance and addiction. The most extreme form of treatment, spinal surgery, can permanently limit your back’s flexibility. You might even end up with an even more painful problem known as failed back surgery syndrome.
The Physical Therapy Approach to Chronic Back Pain Management
Instead of numbing yourself with drugs or risking major surgery, give physical therapy a chance to relieve your chronic back pain the safe, natural way. Our physical therapist will first take the time to examine your back, analyze your symptoms, evaluate your medical history, and talk to you about your pain management goals. This information enables the physical therapist to devise a comprehensive physical therapy plan just for you. Here are some ways you can benefit from such a plan:
- Stretching exercises can can help you increase your range of motion, allowing you to do more with less back pain.
- Strengthening exercises can give weak back muscles the reinforcement they need to hold your back straighter and with less fatigue.
- Laser therapy, massage therapy, and heat or cold treatments can reduce chronic inflammation and relax painful muscle spasms in your back.
- Our physical therapist can recommend specific lifestyle modifications to help you ease stress on your back and avoid future back problems.
- Mindfulness practices and other techniques can help you reduce anxiety and other reactions to pain that might make the pain worse, helping you control your pain responses for the better.
Master Your Back Pain — With Our Help
You have the power to master your chronic pain, starting with the decision to treat yourself to physical therapy. Contact our physical therapist today to schedule an initial consultation!