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Physical Therapy Options

Chronic back discomfort often is caused by arthritis in the spine or a herniated disc.

A Physical Therapist Helps Patients Heal Acute Back Pain and Manage Chronic Back Discomfort

Low back pain is a very common health disorder. People dealing with this condition, whether it's a one-time acute issue or a chronic problem, may seek a combination of treatments for best results. Chiropractic care and massage therapy are frequently chosen for relieving this type of pain. Patients also may set appointments for physical therapy, which has been recognized as an effective treatment for the condition.

A physical therapy appointment may require a referral from the patient's primary care physician. Doctors are quite willing to provide these referrals because they know how helpful these sessions can be for both acute episodes and chronic pain.

Acute Back Pain

Acute back pain is short-term, usually resulting from a soft tissue injury or overuse. Physical therapy can speed healing and reduce symptoms in the meantime.

Chronic Back Discomfort

Chronic back discomfort often is caused by arthritis in the spine or a herniated disc. There may be ongoing pain from an old injury, such as a compressed vertebral fracture from a fall. Doctors find these issues difficult to treat without surgery, but surgery does not have a high success rate for eliminating chronic low back pain. The best success percentages are for patients in which certain physical abnormalities have been determined that can be corrected.

Concerns About Medication

Aside from surgery, cortisone shots help some patients. Doctors are gradually decreasing the tendency to prescribe pain medication beyond higher-dose ibuprofen for back pain patients. Although opiate medicine has proved very effective for pain relief, the prescribing of these drugs has led to an addiction crisis. If patients can no longer keep extending the prescription from their regular doctor, many of them begin seeking assistance from other physicians in an effort to obtain the drug.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapists use a variety of treatments for their chronic back pain patients without relying on drugs. Therapists and their assistants teach exercise programs to the patients that these individuals can do at home. The goal is to increase flexibility and strength while also decreasing pain. They also use equipment like deep-heat ultrasound and transcutaneous electronic nerve stimulation devices that are known to reduce pain through different effects.

A Multifaceted Approach

Sessions at a facility such as Reach Physical Therapy can be combined with other treatments for a multifaceted approach. Physical therapy is considered part of conventional Western medicine, but it has similarities with alternative methods because it relies on natural ways to heal instead of drugs and surgery.