If you have low back pain, you’re not alone. At any given time, approximately 25% of people report having low back pain. In most cases, low back pain is mild and disappears on its own. For some people, back pain can return or hang on, leading to a decrease in quality of life or even to disability.
Signs & Symptoms
The symptoms of low back pain can vary. While some may experience dull pain, others may experience pain that is burning or sharp. You might feel it at a single point or over a broad area and it might be accompanied by muscle spasms or stiffness. Sometimes, it might spread into one or both legs.
Often, low back pain occurs due to overuse, strain, or injury. It could be caused by too much bending, twisting, lifting—or even too much sitting. But just as often, the actual cause of low back pain isn’t known, and symptoms usually resolve on their own.
Although low back pain is rarely serious or life threatening, there are several conditions that may contribute to low back pain, such as degenerative disk disease, lumbar spinal stenosis, fractures, herniated disk, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, and tumors of the spine.
How Is It Diagnosed?
Your physical therapist will perform a thorough evaluation that may include a review of your health history, questions about your specific symptoms, and tests to identify any problems with posture, flexibility, muscle strength, joint mobility, and movement. They may also conduct tests to identify signs or symptoms that could indicate a serious health problem, such as a herniated disk, broken bone, or cancer. You may also participate in an assessment of how you use your body at work and home, during sports, and at leisure.
How Can a Physical Therapist Help?
We can help you improve or restore mobility and reduce low back pain—in many cases, without surgery or the side effects of medications.
If you are having low back pain right now you should stay active, and do as much of your normal routine as possible (bed rest for longer than a day can actually slow down your recovery.) If your pain lasts more than a few days or gets worse, give us a call.
Not all low back pain is the same, so your treatment will be tailored to for your specific symptoms and condition. Once the examination is complete, we will evaluate the results, identify the factors that have contributed to your specific back problem, and design a treatment plan for you. Treatments may include manual therapy to improve the mobility of joints and soft tissues, specific strengthening and flexibility exercises, and education about how you can take better care of your back. You may also receive training for proper lifting, bending, and sitting; for doing chores both at work and in the home; and for proper sleeping positions. We aim to create a safe and effective physical activity program to improve your overall health.
Can Back Pain be Prevented?
As experts in restoring and improving mobility and movement in people’s lives, we play an important role not only in treating persistent or recurrent low back pain, but also in preventing it and reducing your risk of having it come back.
We can teach you how to prevent back pain by participating in regular strengthening and stretching exercises to keep your back, stomach, and leg muscles strong and flexible, keep your body in alignment so that it can be more efficient when you move, keep good posture and don’t slouch, use good body positioning at work, home, or during leisure activities, keep the load close to your body during lifting, ask for help before lifting heavy objects, use an assistive device, such as a dolly or wheelbarrow to transport heavy objects, and maintain a regular physical fitness regimen—staying active can help to prevent injuries
We have physical therapists who specialize in back pain, as well as two staff therapists who are McKenzie certified. You don’t have to live with back pain. Therapy can often help to relieve your symptoms and get you moving again!