It’s estimated that as many as 75% of us will have some form of back or neck pain at some point in our lifetime. The good news is that most of us will recover without the need for surgery (less than 2% of disc herniations, one of the most common back injuries, require surgery)—and conservative care, such as physical therapy at Recovery Physical Therapy (RPT), often gets better statistical results than surgery.
In many cases, low back or neck pain is mild and disappears on its own. However, for a significant number of people, the pain can return or persist, leading to a decrease in quality of life or even to disability. The symptoms of low back and neck pain vary a great deal. Your pain might be dull, burning, or sharp. You may feel pain at a single point or over a broad area. It might be accompanied by muscle spasms or stiffness. Sometimes, it might radiate into the arms or legs. This is known as a radiculopathy.
There are 3 general categories of low back and neck pain:
Acute – pain lasting less than 3 months
Recurrent – acute symptoms come back
Chronic – pain lasting longer than 3 months
Often, low back pain occurs due to overuse, strain, degenerative disease like spinal stenosis or injury. It could be caused by too much bending, twisting, lifting—or even too much sitting. Neck pain can also be the result of, strain, degenerative disease or injury. It could be caused by years of poor posture. But just as often, the actual cause of low back pain and neck pain isn’t known.
Your physical therapist at RPT can help you improve or restore mobility and reduce low back pain—in many cases, without expensive surgery or the side effects of medications. Not all low back or neck pain is the same, so your treatment at RPT will be tailored to your specific symptoms and condition. Once the examination and assessment is complete, your physical therapist will evaluate the results, identify the factors that have contributed to your specific back problem, and design an individualized treatment plan of care for your specific back problem.
Treatments may include:
- Manual therapy, including spinal manipulation, to improve the mobility of joints and soft tissues
- Use of ice or heat treatments or electrical stimulation to help relieve pain
- Specific strengthening, flexibility and postural exercises
- Education about how you can take better care of your back and neck
- Training for proper lifting, bending, and sitting for doing chores both at work and in the home and for proper sleeping positions
- Assistance in creating a safe and effective physical activity program to improve your overall health
Photos of Back and Neck Treatment at Recovery PT (click to enlarge)
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