Can Physical Therapy Relieve Back Pain?
If you suffer from back in any way, physical therapy can help to relieve it. While physical therapy alone is very helpful, the best results come from a combination of treatments that can not only relieve the pain, but keep it from coming back.
Back pain that persists for more than 2 weeks with no relief makes you a candidate for physical therapy. There are two types of physical therapy for back pain:
- Passive physical therapy refers to things that are done to a patient to relieve pain. Examples include applying ice/heat, TENS units, iontophoresis, and ultrasound.
- Active physical therapy refers to exercises including stretching, strengthening, and aerobic conditioning.
Passive Treatments for Back Pain Relief
- Heat Therapy. Applying a heating pad can relieve back pain as it helps to relax muscles and prevent spasms. Apply heat for 10-20 minutes once every two hours. Heat therapy can be alternated with cold therapy for best results.
- Cold therapy. Applying ice to your back can reduce inflammation that is the result of strained muscles. Apply cold for 10-20 minutes once every two hours. Cold therapy can be alternated with heat therapy for best results.
- Iontophoresis. This process involves application of a steroid to the skin. An electrical current is used to help the steroid migrate under the skin, reducing the inflammation that is causing the pain. When pain is severe, this therapy can offer fast relief.
- TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulator). In this procedure, electrical stimulation is used to relieve pain in the lower back by blocking the pain signals to the brain. This type of electrotherapy is usually applied by a professional physical therapist at first, and then if it is successful it can be self-applied at home.
- Ultrasound. Sound waves are applied to the skin to penetrate the soft tissue with heat, relieving pain and possibly promoting the healing of tissue in the back.
Active Physical Therapy for Back Pain
- Stretches. One of the best stretches to relieve back pain is a hamstring stretch. You can also try lying on your back and pulling your knees up to your chest, first together and then one at a time. Your physical therapist can show you some other stretches you can do at home that will help relieve and prevent back pain.
- Strengthening exercises. Physical therapists recommend 15-20 minutes of dynamic lumbar stabilization exercises. Core muscle strengthening can also help, which includes both stomach and back muscles for a stronger core. Your physical therapist can show you how to do exercises like these correctly, which is crucial for success.
- Low-impact aerobic exercise. Aerobic exercise can also aid in relief of back pain. Low-impact options are best to prevent added strain on the back, such as walking, swimming/water aerobics, or biking. If back pain is acute it may be difficult to do any of these things at first. But as the other therapies begin to help, you can start slowly introducing aerobic exercise into your daily routine.
Redcord Suspension Therapy. A highly sought-after therapy is Redcord Suspension Therapy, developed in Norway. It effectively allows the therapist to see muscle imbalances and weaknesses and allows the patient to train muscle groups in their body that they couldn’t train before due to pain by creating this weightless sensation due to the body being suspended. Matawan Physical Therapy is one of the few locations that offers this therapy.
Benefits of Physical Therapy vs. Medication
There are a variety of pain relievers available, both over-the-counter and prescription types. Taking medication of any kind can be potentially harmful, especially when used on a daily basis for a long period of time. Over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen, acetaminophen, and naproxen sodium are mild pain relievers. However, they can have a negative impact on your liver, especially when taken in high doses over the long term.
Stronger pain relievers include opioids, which are very effective, but have a significant disadvantage. There is a high chance of developing an opioid addiction after taking these medications for a period of time. The benefit may not outweigh the risk.
Physical therapy is a better alternative, not only because it prevents the need for medication, but because it can actually correct the problem behind the pain rather than just relieving the pain until you take more medication.
Are you Wondering How to Relieve Back Pain for Good?
Matawan Physical Therapy wants to provide you with a permanent solution to your back pain. Using a combination of active and passive treatments, Matawan PT will develop a customized plan to relieve your back pain and keep it away. You’ll even learn exercises and stretches to do on your own in between therapy appointments to relieve pain if it occurs. Get started on the road to relief. Call (732) 970-7894 or email email@example.com to make an appointment.