Physical Therapy For Back Pain: What To Expect
When it comes to bodily pains, back pain can be persistent and nagging, and it can even develop into a chronic phenomenon that will plague you for months or even years. If you decide to visit a physician after experiencing back pain that has lasted upwards of six weeks, he or she will most likely give you universal advice: seek physical therapy. Many people are confused about what physical therapy consists of, especially with regards to treating back pain. You should know what to expect when you visit a physical therapist regarding your back.
Goals And Types Of Physical Therapy
Generally speaking, physical therapy has three primary goals when it comes to alleviating the pain in your back. The goals are to decrease the localized pain in your back, increase functionality by providing more mobility and flexibility with regards to how you utilize your muscles, and finally, to educate you regarding how to properly use your muscles so you can take preventative measures to ensure that you will not have to go through the experience of receiving physical therapy again, as well as making sure that your muscles will enjoy a long, healthy life.
There are also two types of physical therapy that people suffering from back pain will generally undergo. The first is passive therapy, in which pain is alleviated and the muscles will slowly be brought back to a more healthy state. The second is active, or exercise therapies, in which the muscles are not only brought to a healthy state, but their strength, mobility and flexibility will be increased to a state that was even greater than it was before.
These two forms of therapy do not necessarily occur in chronological order, but rather, your physical therapist will perform and have you perform these types of therapy in tandem, ensuring that your muscles will be close to peak condition.
Passive forms of physical therapy are called passive because they are performed on the patient, rather than the patient performing the type of therapy themselves. These types of therapies are generally performed by the physical therapist at first with the therapist informing the patient or client how to to perform these passive therapies (when possible) on themselves. The most typical forms of passive therapies include ice and heat packs, TENs unit (nerve stimulation programs – these are usually performed by the physical therapist themselves), iontophoresis, and various forms of ultrasound therapies. Passive therapies tend to be the first type of therapy that is performed on patients suffering from back pain.
Active therapy, or, in a nutshell, exercise, is absolutely necessary for recovery to occur for individuals to ensure that their muscles will be working at original capacity. Often, active therapies ensure that muscles can work at peak capacity again.
Stretching is the most common exercise you will perform during physical therapy. If you have hurt your lower back area, your physical therapist will most likely have you stretch your hamstrings twice a day. Generally, they should be performed at the same time every day to ensure that you are getting into a routine. That way, you will never miss a beat and can make sure that you're not missing out on a vital part of your recovery.
When it comes to back pain, nothing can serve to alleviate this pain better than physical therapy. Most physicians will recommend physical therapy to those who have suffered chronic back pain for upwards of six weeks. Hopefully, this brief article has served to inform you about what you can expect to experience once you enter the threshold of the physical therapist's office.