• Tara Albright DPT

We Have Your Back! Physical Therapy and Lower Back Pain

If you have ever experienced lower back pain (LBP), you are not alone. Lower back pain is the most common form of back pain and nearly 50% of patients who present to outpatient physical therapy are seeking care due to LBP1. At any given time, 25% of adults in the United States reported having LBP within the past three months2.


Why Physical Therapy?


Seeking physical therapy services within 1 month of onset of symptoms has shown to decrease the amount of healthcare utilization and costs as well as decrease the need for invasive procedures3. These included:


· Less use of advanced imaging (i.e. MRI)

· Decreased the need for additional physician visits

· Fewer spinal surgeries

· Reduced use of injections and opioid use


Although LBP can present with severe symptoms at times, most LBP is not due to a serious problem and can be managed conservatively. Lower back pain is generally felt in the lower back or buttocks region, but when the nerves get irritated it can cause leg and/or foot pain, numbness, and tingling. LBP usually occurs due to lifestyle factors such as, sitting too much, poor physical conditioning, or bending and lifting improperly. Pain can also be due to overuse, trauma, degenerative changes, or muscle strains. In most cases, no matter the severity or chronicity of your LBP, physical therapists (PTs) can help to decrease pain, improve function, and enhance your quality of life.

How Physical Therapy Can Help?


Physical therapists are movement specialists who use hands-on treatment (manual therapy), patient education, and targeted exercises and movements to help patients reach their goals. During the initial evaluation PTs will perform a comprehensive examination looking at strength, flexibility, balance, tissue sensitivity, and special tests to determine the best treatment plan for the patient. This examination will help the PT determine what kind of LBP the patient is experiencing, taking into account the type of pain, severity of symptoms, appropriateness for PT, and their overall health and ability to recover. Once the physical therapist finishes their thorough examination, they will design a safe and effective treatment plan based off your goals.


Please reach out to us to schedule an appointment for your lower back pain. Our physical therapists will help design a treatment and exercise program catered to your specific needs, to allow for decreased pain and improve your quality of life.



References:

1. Fritz JM, Cleland JA, Childs JD. Subgrouping patients with low back pain: evolution of a classification approach to physical therapy. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2007 Jun;37(6):290-302. doi: 10.2519/jospt.2007.2498. Erratum in: J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2007 Dec;37(12):769. PMID: 17612355.

2. Deyo RA, Mirza SK, Martin BI. Back pain prevalence and visit rates: estimates from U.S. national surveys, 2002. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2006 Nov 1;31(23):2724-7. doi: 10.1097/01.brs.0000244618.06877.cd. PMID: 17077742.

3. Fritz JM, Childs JD, Wainner RS, Flynn TW. Primary care referral of patients with low back pain to physical therapy: impact on future health care utilization and costs. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2012 Dec 1;37(25):2114-21. doi: 10.1097/BRS.0b013e31825d32f5. PMID: 22614792.

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