Back pain is one of the most common problems people struggle with daily. From misalignment to ligament strain, many conditions link to back pain. And although surgery can treat certain back pain conditions, many find this route too expensive or unnecessary. In fact, in most cases, physical therapy is the better option for back pain relief. But how do you know if physical therapy is right for you? Let’s examine various back pain conditions and how you can treat back pain without surgery.
Understanding the Cause of Your Back Pain
Whether your problem is lower back pain, upper back pain, or just overall pain in your back, it’s important to understand the possible causes. Once you know your back pain causes it, it will be easier to treat and alleviate it. Here are some of the most common causes of back pain.
Muscle or Ligament Strain
Muscle or ligament strain is usually the result of repeated heavy lifting or an awkward, sudden movement. You may hear people refer to this as ‘throwing out their back.
The vertebrae in your spine, meaning the bones, are separated from each other by cushions of tissue called discs. When this soft tissue is injured or moved out of place, it bulges or ruptures, usually resulting in pain in your back. You may have heard this referred to as slipping a disc.
Arthritis is a chronic inflammation of joints and other parts of the body, such as your back. The results of arthritis are usually stiffness and swelling. If the arthritis is in the spine, it can lead to a condition called spinal stenosis.
Osteoporosis is a disease that causes your bone mass density to decrease and can lead to painful fractures in the spine’s vertebrae.
Sciatica refers to pain felt along the sciatic nerve, which branches out to the lower back, hips, buttocks, and down your legs.
How Long Does Back Pain Last?
One of the most frustrating aspects of back pain is that there is no exact timetable for it. The location, cause, and severity of back pain all play a factor in how long back pain lasts. Back pain is categorized as either acute, which means short-term, or chronic, which is long-term. Here is a breakdown of each category.
Acute Back Pain
Many people have experienced acute back pain in their lifetimes. Acute back pain means a person only has short-term pain in their lower or upper back. This pain usually goes away after a few days and can worsen if not treated properly.
Chronic Back Pain
If you suffer from chronic back pain, you may experience pain in your upper or lower back for about 12 weeks or longer. Chronic back pain can result from acute pain being ignored for too long, developing into chronic pain. In either case, it’s important to find care for your back pain, especially if it’s chronic. The sooner you can get a diagnosis of your back pain, the sooner you can seek treatment, such as physical therapy. Once you’ve had a chance to schedule an appointment with a physical therapist, they will help determine causes of your pain, and design a treatment plan including different exercises.
Treating Back Pain with Physical Therapy
Luckily, there are several types of physical therapy treatments that can help you with back pain. Here are just some of the many ways you can treat your back pain with physical therapy.
Although it may seem backwards to do any kind of weight training to alleviate back pain, resistance training does work for some people. Keeping your muscles engaged properly during resistance training can help your back pain.
Sometimes the best relief option for your back pain is a therapeutic massage. Massage therapy can help loosen tight areas of the body, such as your back or lower back, and making back pain recovery quicker and easier.
Electrical stimulation uses self-adhesive electrodes placed around the target treatment area on the body that sends electricity to interact with sensory and motor nerves.
Finding a Physical Therapist for Back Pain Relief
When you’re searching for options for back pain relief, find a physical therapist. Your PT can help determine the cause of your back pain, and start a back pain treatment plan specific to your needs. OSR has several locations throughout Arizona, with staff and facilities ready to help you find relief.
Discover a better way to treat your back pain by scheduling an appointment with OSR.