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Lower back pain is the most common condition treated by orthopedic physical therapists. Here we will discuss common causes of acute and chronic back pain as well as how these conditions are treated for back pain relief.
To understand treatment and lower back pain relief, you must understand the two main categories of trauma.
Microtrauma: repeated minor trauma over an extended time period such as poor posture or bending and lifting incorrectly. These minor traumas can result in sciatica, bulging disc, a pinched nerve, and back spasms if not corrected.
Macrotrauma: a single major trauma such as a motor vehicle accident, major fall, or collision.
Microtrauma can cause the same damage as macrotrauma and is more common.
Consider a rubber band as an analogy. If you pull the band too far repeatedly, it will degenerate. The rubber band could also acquire the same amount of damage from being pulled too hard one single time. Our bodies work in a similar fashion.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve suffered a single major injury or several minor injuries throughout the years, physical therapy can provide pain relief for back pain and restores optimal movement so that the condition doesn’t return. If the movement is not corrected, you will likely suffer from chronic back pain that eventually impacts your quality of life.
Look at the patient video below. The video on the left was taken prior to physical therapy treatment. This patient was unable to stand greater than 1 minute without having severe numbness down both legs. At Apex Manual Therapy, treatment was heavily focused on correcting the faulty movement. The video on the right was taken on the final day of treatment. The patient had full resolution of symptoms and returned to his labor-intensive work, without limitations or pain.
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Call 512-298-3903 to request a free consultation or schedule a physical therapy appointment online today!
Common Causes of Neck and Back Pain
Discs of the lumbar spine (low back) are designed to absorb and transmit load. Discs are strong and adaptable, changing and reforming to the movements of the lumbar spine. However, if the forces placed on the discs are not properly distributed, the discs break down and could herniate or bulge. A disc can bulge in any direction.
Think of holding a water balloon with your hands, the balloon representing your disc and your hands the lumbar vertebrae (the bones of your lower back). If you press your hands together the balloon squeezes out the sides, but if you push down on the front, the balloon will push backward.
The best treatment for a bulging disc is back decompression. This decompresses the load which is causing the disc to herniate in a specific direction. Back decompression must take place constantly, as you move, to assure the disc is not being pushed back into the herniation. Simply hanging upside down on an inversion table is not going to teach you how to properly load the disc as you walk, bend, and lift. Proper body mechanics will restore and distribute the load throughout the disc, preventing it from bulging out. This lower back pain treatment will bring sustained relief.
Sciatica is irritation of the sciatic nerve. All nerves intertwine and tunnel through the structures of the body and are all connected. The sciatic nerve runs down the back of the leg and is the largest in the body. Nerves become irritated with compression, friction, or stretching and symptoms can present as pain, muscle weakness, burning, tingling, numbness, or tightness. Once the irritation/stress is taken off the nerve, the nerve symptoms begin to resolve.
A pinched nerve is exactly that, a nerve that is being pinched or compressed. A nerve can become pinched from poor posture, poor body mechanics, or degenerative changes within the body such as a bulging disc.
Back Muscle Spasms
Back spasms are involuntary muscle contractions. A fatigued or overused muscle could result in a spasm. Muscles can become tired and overused when posture and body mechanics are not working correctly. Optimal posture and movement provide the least amount of stress to the muscles of the body. You may suffer from chronic lower back pain if the incorrect movement is not addressed.
The best treatment for back muscle pain relief differs from person to person and is dependent on the cause as well as the area of injury.
At Apex Manual Therapy we will determine the root cause of your lower back pain and customize the treatment plan to address your individual needs. Each visit is spent entirely one-on-one with a fellowship-trained Doctor of Physical Therapy to provide the highest level of musculoskeletal care. Whether you’re suffering from a major accident or minor aches and pains, we’ve got your back!
If you’re in the greater Austin area or Pflugerville, TX schedule a free consultation to see the difference in our approach.
Call 512-298-3903 or book your next appointment online today!
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