Lower back pain is an increasingly common complaint. After all, the lower part of the back only has five vertebrae – fewer than the neck and mid-back region – to carry the weight of your upper body. Over time, the repeated movement and stress can cause the inner structures to wear down, making them vulnerable to disease and injury.
Physical Therapy Treatments
Back pain treatment depends on the underlying cause. While there is no single approach to low back pain, physical therapy is proving to be an increasingly effective option. Physical therapy involves the use of manual and non-drug modalities that may include:
- Massage therapy
- Exercise plan
- Pre- and post-surgical rehabilitation
- Heat and cold therapies
- Balance and fall prevention
If your back pain doctor recommends physical therapy as a treatment option for low back pain, here’s what you should know about its immense benefits.
Reduces Pain and Inflammation
Your back pain doctor may recommend massage or hands-on manipulation as part of your physical therapy plan. During massage therapy, a licensed professional applies different levels of pressure to the back. They may also use special tools to move and stretch the muscles, tendons, and joints.
Massage therapy stimulates fast-acting nerve fibers that block pain-receiving signals and trigger the release of endorphins. Deep-pressure massage can also force tense muscles to contract and promote blood circulation to the affected area to speed up tissue repair.
Strengthens Back Muscles
Once your back pain doctor refers you to physical therapy, a provider will craft a personalized exercise plan. Regular exercise can strengthen the back muscles, decreasing pain and reducing the risk of re-injury. In addition to strengthening exercises, the rehabilitation plan will likely incorporate range-of-motion or flexibility exercises.
Based on their assessment, your physical therapist will recommend specific exercises that you can perform safely. These exercises can be performed under their supervision or at home. Generic exercises that one can get off the internet may not cut it since it does not take into account your physical build and other factors. Working with a licensed professional ensures that the exercises are safely within your physical limits.
Reduce Drug Reliance
With the help of other therapeutic modalities like exercise, physical therapy can provide a sufficient level of pain relief that reduces reliance on pain medication.
While your back pain doctor can prescribe painkillers to keep painful symptoms under control, it can be addictive and cause unwanted side effects. Drugs are usually not meant for prolonged use since they do not address the underlying cause of pain.
In some cases, poor posture can contribute to lower back pain. When the bones and joints are not in their proper alignment, it can cause unnecessary stress on the back. Poor posture also strains the muscles and prevents them from working as efficiently as they should.
As experts in the musculoskeletal system, your physical therapist can spot and correct errors in your posture. They will teach you how to carry yourself in everyday situations, from standing up to lifting heavy items without overextending the back. Maintaining good posture reaps long-term benefits that help prevent low back pain and injury.
Speed Up Recovery From Surgery
Although physical therapy may be used to delay back surgery, it can also be used to speed up recovery after an operation. While bed rest may be beneficial to some degree after surgery, prolonged inactivity can cause muscle weakness and loss of function.
After orthopedic surgery, your back pain doctor will work with a physical therapist to design a rehabilitation program. They will usually start with gentle targeted stretches to keep the muscles from getting stiff and get the blood flowing. Over time, the exercises will increase in intensity and frequency depending on the pace of recovery.
Controlled movement after back surgery helps patients regain mobility, strength, and physical function faster. It also has the added benefit of relieving postoperative pain and stiffness. Moreover, exercise promotes blood flow to the injured site, helping deliver oxygen and nutrients critical to healing. By committing to physical therapy, patients can achieve better clinical outcomes.
Back Pain Doctor In Rochester Hills, Bad Axe, Lapeer, Michigan
If you’re looking for an expert back pain doctor, look no further than Dr. Bradley D. Ahlgren of Ahlgren Spine. Dr. Ahlgren is a board-certified and fellowship-trained orthopedic spine surgeon with over 25 years of experience treating a wide range of spinal disorders.
Depending on your condition, we may recommend physical therapy as part of your rehabilitation program. Dr. Ahlgren and our licensed physical therapists will work closely with you through every step of the recovery process.
To schedule an appointment with the best back pain doctor in Michigan, call us today at (248) 215-8080 or fill out our online appointment request form. We serve Rochester Hills, Bad Axe, and Lapeer. Give us a call today and let us help you find long-lasting back pain relief!