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Physical Therapy: Effective Relief For Chronic Back Pain

Are You Living with Chronic Back Pain?

Is your back constantly aching? Can't seem to relax or indulge in your usual activities?

If so, be sure to give FYZICAL Therapy and Balance Centers of Mall Drive, Las Cruces a call and schedule an appointment with one of our physical therapists.

Our physical therapists can help lessen your pain or alleviate it entirely.

Chronic back pain, defined

Short-term back pain is the norm. It lasts anywhere between a few days to a few weeks. Back pain that lasts for 12 weeks or more is considered chronic.

The American Physical Therapy Association states that back pain is the most commonly experienced form of pain for Americans. In fact, one in every four Americans has sustained some sort of back pain in the past three months.

Chronic back pain is defined as discomfort that lasts three months or more. This sort of pain can be caused by a number of factors, including spinal arthritis, age, disc issues, and myofascial pain syndrome.

Around 20 percent of persons who experience back pain will develop chronic back pain with persistent symptoms. Chronic back pain is ranked third among the most bothersome conditions for Americans.

What could be causing my chronic back pain?

Most chronic back pain causes are mechanical in nature. Some of the causes include:

  • Intervertebral disc degeneration
  • Radiculopathy
  • Herniated discs
  • Sprains and strains
  • Traumatic injury
  • Sciatica

Sprains and strains are caused by muscle tears, inappropriate twisting or lifting, or overstretching. Disc degeneration occurs when the spine's elastic discs lose their integrity and no longer function as a cushion between discs. Herniated discs happen when the discs compress and bulge outward.

Radiculopathy is caused by injury, inflammation or compression of the spinal nerve root. It can occur with a herniated disc, too.

Sciatica is a kind of radiculopathy caused by compression of the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve is a big one, and compression on it can cause a burning or shock-like pain that extends to the leg and feet. It may also cause numbness and weakness in the leg.

Sports, automobile accidents, and falls can all result in traumatic injuries. As a result of a traumatic event, damage to the ligaments, muscles, and tendons can cause chronic back pain.

How will physical therapy help my chronic back pain?

Physicians frequently recommend physical therapy to patients suffering from chronic back pain. Physical therapy's purpose is to reduce back pain, improve function, and provide information to prevent future recurrences. A physical therapy program usually consists of two parts: passive treatment and active treatment.

Passive treatments consist of ultrasound, ice and heat therapy, TENS units, electric shock, massage and stabilization techniques. Active treatments consist of stretching and targeted exercises.

Physical therapists also give patients with chronic back pain a routine exercise program to do at home. Physical therapy also helps those with chronic back pain avoid depending on pain meds and having surgery. Heat and cold therapy may be used to increase blood flow, reduce inflammation and lessen pain. Ultrasound is a common passive modality that physical therapists utilize. Ultrasound uses sound waves for deep heating that penetrates the soft tissue.

According to the NBCI, “in chronic low back pain, the physical therapy exercise approach remains a first-line treatment and should be routinely used. “

Stabilization exercises may also be included to retrain the deep muscles. Your physical therapist will show you how to use the right spinal and abdominal muscles before beginning any exercises to stabilize the spine. Manipulation is another technique to alleviate chronic back pain. Short and rapid thrusting movements are done over a joint to reduce pain and increase mobility.

Not only does this method alleviate back pain, it enhances healing of the affected area. A transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulator (TENS) unit may be ordered by a physical therapist. This unit helps override painful signals sent to the brain.

It can be used at home and on a long-term basis. Deep tissue massage is another common treatment for chronic back pain. This manual method increases oxygen and nutrients to the affected areas for healing and also helps reduce muscle spasms and stiffness.

If you’re suffering from chronic back pain, be sure to contact FYZICAL Therapy and Balance Centers of Mall Drive, Las Cruces for a consult and an evaluation.

Ready to find relief?

Our physical therapists will review your medical history, evaluate your function, determine your range of movement and develop a personalized treatment plan that will get you on the path to recovery.

Our goal is to improve your quality of life and help you perform your daily routine.