Low back pain can be debilitating and interfere with your daily activities. It can be caused by a range of factors, from injury to poor posture, and can affect people of all ages. If you're one of the millions of people living with low back pain, physical therapy may be the solution you've been looking for. In this blog post, we'll take a look at three common causes of low back pain and how physical therapy can help.
Strains and Sprains
One common cause of low back pain is strains and sprains. These injuries often occur when you engage in activities that require sudden, twisting movements, or lifting heavy objects improperly. If you have a strain or sprain, you'll likely experience symptoms such as muscle spasms, stiffness, and pain.
Physical therapy can help by providing targeted exercises that help strengthen the muscles around your back and spine, improving your range of motion, and increasing your flexibility. Your physical therapist may also recommend other treatments, such as heat or ice therapy, to alleviate pain and reduce inflammation. Working with a physical therapist can help you safely recover from a sprain or strain and prevent future injuries.
A herniated disc occurs when the jelly-like material inside a disc in your spine bulges out, putting pressure on surrounding nerves. This can cause pain, numbness, and weakness in your lower back and legs. Herniated discs can be caused by injury or degeneration and are more common in older adults. The pain associated with disc injuries is usually worse with sitting and forward bending and often worse in the morning.
Physical therapy can help by providing exercises that increase the strength and flexibility of the muscles around your spine, taking pressure off the affected nerves. Your physical therapist may also recommend manual therapy techniques, such as massage, to reduce the compressive forces of tight muscles. A physical therapist can also provide manual traction of the spine to reduce the herniation and alleviate pressure on the nerves.
Often times when treating disc injuries we look to find what is called a direction of preference. With disc injuries there is usually a specific direction your back moves that causes relief of the symptoms. If you have symptoms down into the leg, the goal is to reduce these as quickly as possible and centralize the pain to the area of the injury, which is the low back. Typically, the further down the leg the pain goes the more severe the injury. Working with a physical therapist can help you manage your symptoms and avoid surgery so you can get back to doing the things you love.
Spondylolisthesis is a condition in which one vertebra in your spine shifts forward, putting pressure on surrounding nerves and causing low back pain. It's most common in people over 50 and can be caused by degeneration, injury, or a congenital defect. This also is common in young athletes. This can happen from repetitive extension stress. This is most common in gymnasts but happens in athletes of all types. This condition is sometimes call Pars defects.
Physical therapy can help by providing targeted exercises that strengthen the muscles around your spine and improve your posture. Working with a physical therapist can also help you learn how to move safely and avoid activities that exacerbate your symptoms. In severe cases, surgery may be necessary, but physical therapy should always be considered first.
Low back pain can be caused by a range of factors and can interfere with your daily life. If you're living with low back pain, physical therapy may be the solution you've been looking for. By targeting the underlying cause of your pain and providing targeted exercises, manual therapy, and other treatments, physical therapy can help you manage your symptoms and improve your quality of life. If you're living with back pain, don't suffer in silence – make an appointment with a physical therapist today and take the first steps on the path to relief.