My Back Is KILLING ME!!

Low Back Pain…so many of us have it these days! LBP can put such a damper on our daily lives because the back is the central support for our bodies.  We need our back to sit, stand, and walk.  We need our back to lay down, turn and move in bed, stand up and sit down.  It is involved in pretty much every movement and motion that takes place.  Our backs take the stress of our weight and we often assume poor postures in the different positions we are in daily so the stress increases.  Sitting or standing for long periods of time with a poor posture can lead to muscle imbalances and pressure on our joints.  Add that to lifting improperly, traumatic falls, and repetitive activities we are bound to injure our backs at some point!

Most Low Back pain results from injury to the muscles, ligaments, joints, or discs in the back.  Some more specific diagnosis that you may have come across are Lumbar sprain/strain, facet joint dysfunction, disc herniation, sciatica, sacroiliac joint dysfunction (SIJ), spinal stenosis, osteoarthritis, spondylolisthesis, or a fracture.  The single most common cause of lower back pain is a Lumbar Strain (pulled/torn muscle) or a Lumbar Sprain (pulled/torn ligament). Those all sound really scary but there is no need to fret!  Most low back pain can be easily resolved with a proper treatment approach.  With any injury the body reacts to injury by mobilizing an inflammatory healing response. The body is trying to protect the injured area but in doing so it can often create severe pain.  So in essence, we need to to get that swelling out and get the body moving as it once was~!

Low back pain often occurs from improper lifting, poor posture, lack of regular exercise, a fracture, a ruptured disk, or arthritis.  Depending on the cause of the pain, symptoms can be experienced in a variety of ways.  Pain can be dull or achy.  Pain can also be like a stinging, burning pain that moves from the low back to the backs of the thighs, sometimes into the lower legs or feet and can include numbness or tingling.  Muscle spasms and tightness in the low back, pelvis, and hips can also be common in low back injury.  Pain may worsen after prolonged sitting or standing or it may be difficult to  stand up straight, walk, or transitions from standing to sitting.

There are many ways to treat low back pain.  If you are fairly healthy and you injure your back mildly, for example a Lumbar strain/sprain, it is possible for your back to heal on its own with some rest and ice/heat to assist the healing process.  If the injury is more serious then it will likely require Physical Therapy to help move the body on the path of healing.

The first route that many people take when they injure their back to get better is to call and make an appointment with their physician, but there is a better solution.  A typical office visit with your physician for Low Back Pain often ends with the physician prescribing a pain medication for you to take.  Pain medication is only going to cover the symptoms but it is not going to address the underlying issue.  In other words, pain medication is not going to “fix” your back.  Sometimes your physician will order X-rays and/or a MRI to see if the images reveal any problems.  They may even send you to an Orthopedic surgeon if they are very concerned that your pain is not getting better. It is important to note that the presence of one or more conditions seen on an X-ray or MRI does not necessarily mean that the condition is the cause of YOUR pain. For example, osteoarthritis or degenerative disc disease could appear on any persons imaging study but that person may not report any pain. So it is important that the source of the pain be identified by an expert who is qualified to diagnose your pain. If you have back pain that persists then there is a problem that needs to be addressed and it will only get worse over time if it is not.  This is why physical therapy is so important!

So what can you expect from a typical physical therapy appointment for Low Back Pain?  Your appointment starts with your Physical Therapist talking with you about your mechanism of injury, your pain, and your goals.  Your PT will want to have all the information they can to ensure their plan is in line with yours.  We will then assess your movement quality, soft tissue & joint mobility, strength, neuromuscular and functional abilities.  After assessing these items your Physical Therapist will then be able to properly diagnose your condition and create a treatment plan that can be initiated on your first visit.  This means that on your first visit you get some relief!  That first visit you will likely have some hands on work done and and gentle exercise program initiated in addition to modalities such as ice or heat or electrical stimulation to address any pain that is present.  Your following visits will continue to address your limitations and the goals is that with each session you pain is getting less and your functional abilities are getting better.  There is great hope for getting rid of Low Back Pain so don’t wait to get fixed!

 

I hope you enjoyed this BLOG post. Are you looking for a Great Physical Therapist in the San Pedro, Lomita, Harbor City, Palos Verdes, Torrance, Wilmington area? Do you have Questions? Call my office today M: 424-337-1980 or D: 310-548-5984 or you can email me @drjanaebrownpt@gmail.com. You can visit my website @ http://www.drjanaebrownpt.com for further information on our services. You can also LIKE my FB & IG Business Pages located under Physical Therapy San Pedro to receive more info and tips on Health & Wellness!

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