Using Physical Therapy for Back Pain

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Physical therapy is a technique used by spine doctors to help treat and manage chronic and acute back pain. Physical therapy services are often offered for patients who have acute back pain caused by a slip and fall, fracture, or an auto accident. Spine doctors also provide physical therapy for your chronic back pain and related conditions.

How Physical Therapy Helps Back Pain

Physical therapy involves movements, postures, and exercises that promote healing of soft tissues and promote restoration of your range of motion and movement. For example, after an auto accident, you may have small tears in the ligaments and muscles that support your cervical or lumbar vertebrae. Physical therapy helps you to manage pain and heal so that you regain your full range of movement as quickly as possible.

Passive Physical Therapy

Passive physical therapy involves the use of ultrasound, heat, ice, and electrical stimulation. These therapies stimulate regeneration of tissue. They also help to relax tightly contracted and sore muscles in your back. These therapies can be applied to a specific area or across your whole back as often as needed. Many spine doctors also offer manual adjustments, deep tissue massage, and other physical therapy treatments to help manage your back pain.

Active Physical Therapy Exercises

Active physical therapy involves intentional movement of your body. Low-impact aerobic activities such as walking or marching in place with good posture and stretching exercises are a part of active physical therapy. Pain relief exercises and range of motion exercises such as using resistance bands are also active forms of physical therapy. Your doctor may also show you how to perform specific strengthening exercises. These exercises can also help you to prevent a new back injury in the future.

Practicing Exercises at Home

In addition to learning how to do the physical therapy exercises while you visit the doctor, you will likely also receive instructions on how to do them at home. You may do a specific number of repetitions of these exercises every day or every other day to rebuild your strength and flexibility. Practicing these exercises at home between visits with the doctor helps to facilitate your progress to recovery from your injuries. It can also help with the management of chronic back pain from arthritis and other bone and joint conditions.