The Benefits of Physical Therapy for Lower Back Pain – Move Forward Pain-Freeadmin
Lower back pain can vary in intensity, duration, and location, but if you’ve got it, you know it. Stiffness. Aching. Burning. Muscle spasms. Tingling. Numbness. Sound familiar?
While lower back pain might be localized to one area, it can also radiate through your buttocks, thighs, or legs. For some people, it may cause weakness in the legs or make it difficult to stand or walk. Our physical therapy plans can help.
Acute vs. Chronic Lower Back Pain
The severity of your lower back pain symptoms is impacted by many factors: the cause of the pain, your age, your lifestyle, your medical history, and the duration and frequency of your pain.
Acute lower back pain typically lasts for a few days to a few weeks and may be triggered by a sudden injury, strain, or trauma to the muscles, ligaments, or discs in the lower back.
Chronic lower back pain, on the other hand, can persist for months or years and may be caused by conditions such as herniated discs, arthritis, or spinal stenosis. Regardless of the cause or duration of the pain, seeking medical attention and appropriate treatment can help you manage your symptoms and improve your quality of life.
Physical Therapy is an Effective Treatment for Lower Back Pain
Physical therapy is a highly effective treatment option for lower back pain. Numerous studies demonstrate its ability to reduce pain, improve function, and enhance quality of life. A meta-analysis of lower back pain research found that physical therapy interventions — such as exercise therapy, manual therapy, and spinal manipulation — were associated with significant reductions in pain and improvements in function.
Physical therapy can also help prevent the recurrence of lower back pain. A study published in the Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy found that individuals who participated in a physical therapy program for lower back pain were less likely to experience a recurrence of pain than those who did not receive physical therapy. Overall, the evidence suggests that physical therapy is a safe and effective treatment option for individuals with lower back pain, and should be considered as a first-line treatment before more invasive or costly interventions are pursued.
Types of Physical Therapy for Lower Back Pain
At Med1Care Therapy Partners, we appreciate physical therapy for lower back pain, not only because it’s effective, but also because it is a non-invasive treatment option that can prevent the need for surgery.
Several types of physical therapy can be used to alleviate lower back pain, depending on the underlying cause and severity of your pain. One common approach is manual therapy, which may include massage, joint mobilization, and stretching to improve the flexibility, range of motion, and alignment of your spine. Manual therapy can also help reduce muscle tension and inflammation, which can contribute to lower back pain.
Another type of physical therapy for lower back pain is therapeutic exercise, which involves a series of targeted movements and stretches to strengthen the muscles in the lower back, hips, and core. Strengthening these muscles can help improve posture, reduce pressure on the spine, and increase stability and support in your lower back.
Therapeutic exercise can also help improve your overall physical fitness and reduce the risk of future injuries or recurring back pain. We may also suggest ultrasound, heat or cold therapy, or electrical stimulation—which can be used to reduce pain, inflammation, and muscle spasms in the lower back.
How to Reduce Lower Back Pain at Home
While it’s always best to seek guidance from a physical therapist or healthcare provider before starting any exercise program, there are several physical therapy exercises that can be done at home to alleviate lower back pain.
Here are some examples:
Pelvic tilts: Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Gently flatten your lower back against the floor by tightening your abdominal muscles, then release and arch your back slightly. Repeat 10-15 times.
Cat-cow stretch: Start on your hands and knees with your wrists directly under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Inhale and arch your back, bringing your chest and tailbone towards the ceiling. Exhale and round your spine, tucking your chin to your chest and bringing your tailbone towards your knees. Repeat 10-15 times.
Bird dog: Start on your hands and knees with your wrists directly under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Extend your right arm and left leg straight out, keeping your hips level and your back flat. Hold for a few seconds, then switch sides. Repeat 10-15 times on each side.
Hip bridges: Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Lift your hips up towards the ceiling, squeezing your glutes and engaging your core. Lower back down to the starting position and repeat 10-15 times.
Knee-to-chest stretch: Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Bring one knee towards your chest and hold for 20-30 seconds, then switch sides. Repeat 2-3 times on each side.
These exercises can help strengthen the muscles in your lower back, hips, and core, improve your flexibility and range of motion, and reduce your pain and stiffness. Start slowly. Only gradually increase the intensity and duration of the exercises over time, and stop any exercise that causes pain or discomfort.
Get Started with Med1Care Physical Therapy
At Med1Care Therapy Partners, we are committed to helping you find relief. We regularly diagnose and treat lower back conditions using exercises, stretching techniques, manual therapy, and other interventions. With our expertise in physical rehabilitation, combined with an understanding of your unique needs and goals, we can help reduce your lower back pain and prevent recurrence.
We’ll partner with your physician to help you build a unique treatment plan to restore your movement and function with specialized exercises and education on low impact ways to manage daily living, relieve pain, improve mobility, prevent disability, and strengthen the musculature in your back.
Call us at 419.866.0555 to schedule a free consultation.
Our specialists will help you chart a course forward.