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Back Pain: How Physical Therapy Can Get Your Life Back

how physical therapy can help you get your life back from back pain, relaxing sunset after physical therapy

Do you have back pain that prevents you from enjoying life?

Would you give anything to stop the pain and get your life back?

Well, the good news is that physical therapy can help.

We identify the root cause (why you have pain in the first place). Then we fix the issues, educate you on how to prevent the pain from coming back, and ultimately help you get your life back on track, so you can start enjoying life again. 

But what exactly is physical therapy, and how can it fix your back pain?

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What Is Physical Therapy?

What Is Physical Therapy?

Physical therapy involves a trained Doctor of Physical Therapy evaluating and treating various physical conditions and complex pain problems that may be caused due to disability, injury, surgery, or pre-existing medical conditions. 

The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) defines physical therapists as licensed and trained movement experts – and that's precisely what we do.

We help you move better, without pain or discomfort. As professional physical therapists, we diagnose and treat a wide range of physical problems.

But one of the most common complaints we evaluate and treat is back pain. 

When we treat back pain, we work towards improving your quality of life by reducing pain and helping you to regain mobility and range of motion. We also guide you to prevent reoccurrence or further injury.  

We work from our clinic in Louisville, KY. Still, Physical therapists generally work in a wide range of settings, from nursing homes to hospitals, rehabilitation centers to private clinics.

They engage with patients at every phase – from diagnosis to rehabilitation and onto recovery and prevention of further injuries. 

Physical therapy may sometimes be in addition to other forms of treatment. Still, in many cases, it can be the standalone treatment – particularly in fixing back pain caused by chronically poor posture and a weak core. 

As physical therapists, we fix back pain by:

  • Conducting a physical examination, evaluating medical history, and examining all aspects of the spine and joint and muscle condition, flexibility, body movements, and range of motion.  
  • Diagnosing the root cause of back pain and creating short- and long-term treatment plans, depending on the severity of the pain and dysfunction. 
  • Administering hands-on physical therapy, myofascial release, and joint and muscle manipulation.
  • Helping and guiding patients to adjust their lives to minimize and prevent back pain.
  • Providing instruction on performing a range of therapeutic stretching and strengthening exercises that target the cause of back pain.

At times, in addition to manual physical therapy, the treatment for back pain may also include: 

  • Light therapy: It involves using special equipment like lasers and other lights to treat specific conditions.
  • E-stim (Electrical stimulation): These are of 2 types, transcutaneous and neuromuscular. In neuromuscular stimulation, the muscle motor units are stimulated for improved muscular engagement. Transcutaneous stimulation is given to alleviate pain. 
  • Hot/cold/moist therapy: Heat therapy involves one of the three or, at times, two or more forms of treatment as part of physical therapy to reduce pain, relax muscles and lower inflammation.
  • Iontophoresis: This therapy involves using mild electrical current to administer certain medicines like topical steroids to treat inflammation. 

What Are The Benefits Of Physical Therapy? 

What Are The Benefits Of Physical Therapy?  help for shoulder pain

Physical therapy is proven to be beneficial in these conditions:

  • Patients with musculoskeletal issues, including rotator cuff tears, back pain, TMJ disorders, etc.
  • Pediatric medical issues like muscular dystrophy and cerebral palsy.
  • Hand and wrist conditions like trigger finger and carpal tunnel syndrome.
  • Those suffering from cardiopulmonary issues, like myocardial infarction failure, pulmonary disease, cystic fibrosis, etc.
  • Female health issues like pelvic floor disorders, lymphedema, and urinary incontinence.
  • Various neurological issues like injury to the spinal cord, paralytic strokes, vestibular dysfunction, multiple sclerosis, traumatic injuries to the brain and Parkinson's syndrome, etc.
  • Epidermal conditions like diabetic ulcers and burns etc.
  • Sports injuries like tennis elbow and concussions. 

There Are Various Different Types Of Physical Therapy

There Are Various Different Types Of Physical Therapy - treadmill Cardiovascular/pulmonary:  physical therapy

The different types of physical therapy include, but are not limited to the following: 

Cardiovascular/pulmonary:

Patients who undergo surgery and suffer from cardiopulmonary conditions benefit from this therapy, which improves stamina and improves cardiopulmonary endurance.  

Orthopedic physical therapy:

Is used in the treatment of musculoskeletal trauma that affects the tendons, bones, ligaments, muscles, and fascia. Orthopedic PT is ideal for patients who require rehab from ortho surgery, bursitis, sprains, tendinitis, fractures, etc. 

The therapy process involves strength and mobility training, manual therapy, and joint mobilization.  

Neurological therapy: Caters to patients with neurological disorders like stroke, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s, spinal cord injuries, cerebral palsy, and other neuro-related conditions.

The treatment process helps the patient improve movements and balance. Makes the limbs more responsive and increases strength and range of motion. 

Pelvic floor rehabilitation: Helps treat pelvic floor disorders like urinary/fecal incontinence, pelvic prolapse, pelvic surgery-related issues or injuries, etc.  

Vestibular therapy: This kind of physical therapy aims to treat balance-related issues that arise from the inner ear.

Vestibular Physical Therapy involves manual techniques and movements that help individuals improve and eventually regain their coordination and balance.  

Wound care therapy: Assists in the faster healing of wounds by improving blood circulation to the infected area that carries oxygen and contributes to the healing process. This treatment can include compression therapy, wound care, and E-stim.  

Decongestive therapy: Patients suffering from lymphedema and related conditions benefit from the drainage of fluid accumulated in parts of the body through this type of physical therapy. 

Geriatric physical therapy: It treats specifically the elderly that have mobility issues and reduction in their bodily functions due to various medical conditions.

These include patients with Osteoporosis, arthritis, balance issues, hip/joint replacement surgery, Alzheimer’s, and incontinence issues, among others.

Geriatric PT works to improve fitness, alleviate pain, and improve overall movement.  

Physical Therapy Treatment: The Main Benefits

Physical Therapy Treatment: The Main Benefits Better movement and improved mobility

Depending on the specific need for therapy or the medical condition it is treating, some of the benefits of physical therapy include:

  • Better movement and improved mobility
  • Improvement in balance and prevention of falls
  • Reduces dependence on Advil and pain medication like opioids
  • Recovery from trauma
  • Helps in the management of age-related issues
  • Reduces the need for surgery
  • Assists in the recovery from paralysis

We offer treatment recommendations to patients based on their medical history and help you manage and improve your symptoms.

We also help sportspeople and professional athletes improve their performance by helping condition their muscles and other body parts better. 

What Causes Back Pain?

What Causes Back Pain?

Lower back pain and other types of back pain are the most common pain conditions we treat at Focus Physical Therapy.

Unfortunately, it's also a significant reason why many Americans call in sick or must give up work altogether.

However, don't lose hope. When we correct dysfunctional movement patterns and stretch and strengthen the surrounding muscles.

We can fix back pain that you've had for years, if not decades, and keep you off the surgeon's table. 

The most common causes of back pain are:

  • Muscle or ligament problems: The muscles and ligaments in the back are often vulnerable to damage, especially if you play sports or work in a profession that requires you to repeatedly lift heavy weights, which can strain the ligaments. 
  • Disk problems: The delicate spinal discs are also susceptible to damage and wear and tear, which can result in these “cushions” getting worn away, allowing the spinal bones to press on surrounding nerves and cause pain. 
  • Arthritis: Similarly, arthritis – particularly osteoarthritis- can cause degeneration of the spinal bones and a reduction in the spinal cord's space, which can cause pain and discomfort. 

But there are many other causes of back pain, including sciatica, scoliosis, ankylosing spondylitis, spinal fractures and rarely osteomyelitis (bone infection) or cancer.

So, it's essential to work with a physical therapist to identify the cause before treatment is even an option. 

Working With A Physical Therapist To Treat Back Pain 

Working With A Physical Therapist To Treat Back Pain

If you have back pain, it's essential to find and consult with the right kind of physical therapist, depending on their location, medical insurance guidelines, and the type of treatment they provide.

But most importantly, you need to pick a physical therapist who specializes in treating complex back pain.

A therapist that is confident that they can identify and fix the source of your pain before you commit to treatment.

At Focus Physical Therapy, because we're so confident in the service that we provide back pain patients and our ability to treat back pain.

We offer all new patients a free 30-minute appointment with one of our physical therapists, so you can decide for yourself whether we're the right fit for you. 

 

Dr Brad Conder

Dr Brad Conder

Dr. Brad Conder is the owner of Focus Physical Therapy. He is board-certified in orthopedic physical therapy and has been a practicing physical therapist for 12 years. Brad has experience in outpatients orthopedics, industrial onsite medicine, hospital physical therapy, and home health physical therapy. Brad got his physical therapy degree from the University of Kentucky in 2004 and his doctorate in physical therapy from Regis University in 2007. Dr Conder’s primary experience is in outpatient orthopedics, and he has a particular interest in manual physical therapy, including dry needling, Maitland style manual techniques, and industrial onsite medicine.
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