Physical Therapy for Treating Back Pain | Ivy Rehab Network

Back Pain

Why does my back hurt?

In the United States, people visit physicians for symptoms related to back pain almost as much as they do for a common cold. Back pain can be a result of an acute injury or may be associated with a more long-term injury or illness. There are many causes of back pain, but the most common include muscle strains, disc or facet joint irritation, as well as sacroiliac dysfunction. The symptoms from these are often very similar which makes diagnosis and physical therapy for back pain essential.

Symptoms of back pain:

  • pain or discomfort in the upper back or lower back
  • stiffness along the spine
  • sharp aches in the upper back or lower back
  • soreness in the upper back or lower back
  • muscle spasms in the back
  • difficulty maintaining one position

Symptoms of back pain can often be felt in other areas of the body or even radiate to extremities such as arms or legs.

Possible reasons for back pain:

  • Muscle strain
  • Fracture
  • Broken bones
  • Scoliosis
  • Herniated disc
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Spondylolisthesis (slipped vertebrae)
  • Osteoporosis
  • Arthritic changes
  • Weak core and low back muscles
  • Poor sitting or standing posture
  • Facet Joint Syndrome

Schedule a new patient appointment with a physical therapist at Ivy Rehab today! Through exercise therapy, soft tissue therapy and other treatment options, we can help you find pain relief and gain back muscle strength.

  • Q: What can I do at home to relieve my back pain?
    All back pain is not created equal! Depending on if you have pain in sitting or more with standing and walking, your home pain relief remedies will vary. Acute back spasms or injuries respond best to cold packs (no more than 15-20 minutes at a time) and a generalized stiff back may benefit temporarily from a moist heating pad - again for a 20 minute limit. If you are comfortable lying on your back with your knees bent and pain doesn't worsen when you rock your knees from side to side, this exercise can keep muscle spasms at bay and also keep the low back moving gently until you can see a physical therapist or physician.
  • Q: Is lower back pain normal?
    While 90% of people will experience occasional mild back pain in his/ her lifetime, pain is not "normal." Prolonged sitting, or excessive bending - outside of one's normal activities can cause occasional back pain that resolves quickly within 24 hours with rest and gentle stretching. Immense pain or pain that extends beyond a day or two should be carefully monitored, and the services of a physical therapist may be required.
  • Q: How can Ivy Rehab help with my back pain?
    Careful and clear diagnosis and determination of the source of the pain is an essential first step with physical therapy at Ivy Rehab. Ranging from issues with the sciatic nerve or a muscle strain, there are many factors that can contribute to back pain. Working with the patient to determine work and life habits, goals and other factors, the PT will establish a clear plan of care and address the source of the back pain. Ivy has many tools and treatments to resolve back pain - manual therapy and manipulation, therapeutic exercises, stretching exercises, modalities, dry needling, aquatic therapy and more.
  • Q: I've had back pain for years. Is physical therapy right for me?
    Whether back pain is sudden and recent or gradual and existing for a long time, physical therapy can be extremely effective in reducing or eliminating back pain. Therapy may take a bit longer due to secondary adaptations from the longstanding conditions, but the prognosis can be just as positive for complete elimination of back pain. Time should not be a deterrent to seeking pain relief through physical therapy.
  • Q: Can physical therapy help if my back pain is due to a muscular injury or do I just need to wait for it to heal?
    Muscle injuries - commonly caused strains - are right up the physical therapists alley of expertise. Muscle injuries also are often accompanied by slight changes in alignment or ligament strains, and physical therapists can check all of these structures to assure a full recovery. PT's can speed the muscle injury recovery as well.

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