If you have been experiencing pain in your lower back for a period of two to six weeks, or if you are suffering from frequent recurrences of pain in your lower back, your doctor may recommend physical therapy to help you. There are a number of ways that physical therapy can help when pain in the lower pack is a problem.
Why Physical Therapy?
Generally speaking, the goals of physical therapy aim to reduce pain, improve function and provide the education that is necessary to prevent further recurrences of pain. These goals are particularly helpful in the case of lower back pain, which can cause a significant amount of pain, reduce mobility and function and can continuously reoccur.
Components of Physical Therapy for Lower Back Pain
A physical therapy treatment program for pain in the lower back usually features two components:
- Passive therapies, which involve treatments that aim to reduce pain to make it more manageable
- Active therapies, which involve treatments that aim to improve strength and restore function
Passive Physical Therapy Treatments
The goal of passive physical treatments is to reduce pain in the lower back. The therapies that are used are considered passive because they are done to the patient; in other words, they are not therapies that the patient actively participates in. Passive physical therapy treatments that are often used for lower back pain include:
- Heat and ice treatments, which reduce muscle spasms and inflammation, thus reducing pain in the lower back.
- TENS units, or transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulator units, use electrical stimulation to control the sensations that send pain signals to the brain, thus reducing the ability to feel such pain.
- Ultrasound therapy, which uses sound waves that penetrate the skin and soft tissues, sending deep heating to the problematic areas.
- Iontophoresis, or the application of ionic medicinal compounds, or steroids, through the skin. A steroid is applied to the skin and an electrical current is applied to help transfer the steroid under the skin.
Active Physical Therapy Treatments
As the name implies, active physical therapy treatments refer to therapies that patients actively participate in, or exercises. The exercises that a patient partakes in for physical therapy to treat lower back pain can vary, but they often include:
- Stretches, which include stretching of the hamstring muscles, the neck and shoulders, the knees, the hips, the gluteus and the back itself, can reduce pain is experienced in the lower back.
- Low-impact aerobic conditioning can also reduce pain in the lower back, as well as provide long term pain reduction. Walking, swimming, biking and water therapies are forms of low-impact aerobic that have proven to effectively reduce and treat the recurrence of pain in the lower back.
The various modalities that are used in physical therapy can help to significantly reduce lower back pain and increase function and your overall wellness.
If you live in the Glen Head area and are in need of physical therapy, contact Panetta Physical Therapy. We are conveniently located near the Gold Coast Public Library and can be easily accessed from Glen Cove and Glen Cove Roads.
“I suffered from lower back pain for years. It finally subsided when I started receiving treatments at Panetta Physical Therapy. I can’t believe the marked difference in my function and how much my pain has improved.”