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Back Pain: 10 Physical Therapy Exercises for Relief

Did you know that back pain is the leading cause of disability among adults, with up to 85% of people experiencing back pain at some point in their lives? It is the sixth most costly condition in the United States. Chronic persistent low back pain is experienced by 8% of all adults who suffer from limited mobility in everyday activities. Back pain is a common problem and can pose various challenges with movement, posture, and flexibility. That said, some people can’t identify what triggers it. In this article, we will discuss common causes and symptoms of back pain and introduce some easy and effective physical therapy interventions including exercises for back pain relief to improve strength and function, so read on for information on what aggravates it and how you can manage it.

What is Back Pain?

Back pain may be caused by strain on the muscles, ligaments, tendons, and bones of your spine. There are 26 vertebrae in your spine and are supported by ligaments, muscles, and proper posture to keep them from rubbing together. As you grow older, these supporting structures age as well and begin to weaken. Poor posture control of the vertebrae may result. As vertebral control lessens the vertebrae can either move more freely or become stiffer and cause back pain. Any type of lifting or twisting activity can strain these supporting structures. Don’t worry, while you may feel like you’re the only person who struggles with back pain, you’re not alone. Over 85% of adults will experience it at some point in their life and the good news is that it’s most often temporary and many options are available for back pain relief. Here’s what you need to know about back pain if you are experiencing it right now or know someone who is.

Studies show that physical therapy is extremely effective and recommended for a variety of back conditions. At Twin Boro, we create physical therapy plans of care that include exercises tailored to each patient’s unique needs.

What Causes Back Pain?

Back pain can be caused by many things and can have many different effects on your body. While some back pain is expected, ongoing back pain can be serious. If you have back pain, it’s important to see a physical therapist or a physician to rule out any serious causes. Identifying the cause of your back pain can help you find the best treatment for back pain relief.

Some of the most common causes of back pain include:

  • Standing or sitting for long periods of time without breaks.
  • Overloaded muscles, especially your lower back muscles often from lifting or moving incorrectly.
  • Routine tasks that can cause back injuries such as twisting or bending incorrectly
  • Muscle or joint problems in your back or chronic conditions.
  • Disc problems such as herniated discs or degenerated discs can cause back pain.
  • Poor posture, such as having an unnatural spine alignment, especially if you’re sitting for long periods of time.

What are the Symptoms of Back Pain?

Back pain can either be localized or can cover a large area of your back. The pain may radiate to other parts of your body in some cases such as your arms, legs, and abdomen. Back pain symptoms vary depending on the type and intensity. If you’ve experienced back pain before, here are common causes of back pain that may be familiar to you:

  • Increasing pain with lifting and bending
  • Worsening pain on changing posture
  • Pain that comes and goes in waves or intervals
  • Morning stiffness that gets better throughout the day with ongoing activity
  • Radiating pain into the buttocks, legs, or hips

Severe cases may warrant a consultation by a physical therapist to determine appropriate next step in the treatment of low back pain. Physical therapy interventions may be all that is needed to decrease severity of related impairments and limitations. However, a physical therapist may determine a referral to a physician is needed. As there are numerous physician specialty areas for treating low back pain, the physical therapist can direct patients to the most suitable specialty group based upon current low back signs and symptoms.

Twin Boro physical therapists are health care professionals who work closely with patients to develop customized physical therapy programs including exercises and activities to improve functional ability based on comprehensive examinations and evaluations. Some low back related signs and symptoms that are very concerning and may need immediate medical attention include:

  • Rapidly increasing in intensity and involved area numbness and tingling
  • Trouble urinating
  • Pain not relieved on medication
  • Unexpected weight loss

10 Physical Therapy Exercises for Back Pain Relief

There are various physical therapy interventions including exercises that can help ease your back pain and enable you to get back to your usual activities sooner. Physical therapy exercises are a form of treatment that can be used to manage your back pain. Exercises can promote relief of back pain so that you can continue your daily activities while also recovering from your back injury.

This can be done through various techniques, such as:

  1. Exercise Therapy in which you do exercises that improve your strength and flexibility
  2. Manual therapy in which different types of hands-on techniques are used
  3. Behavioral Modification in terms of changes in your daily activities and routines
  4. Myofascial release to release tension with gentle pressure
  5. Acupressure therapy uses pressure on different trigger points for back pain relief
  6. Heat and cold therapy with hot and cold packs to reduce pain and swelling
  7. Electrotherapy refers to using electrical impulses to desensitize painful tissue.
  8. Ultrasound therapy using sound waves to treat soft tissue injury
  9. Traction technique using a machine to release pressure on the nerves
  10. Hydrotherapy in which you use water to massage your muscles

To decrease the severity of current and reduce risk of future back pain and related limitations a plan of care developed by a physical therapist is recommended. The plan of care will include interventions initially done with a physical therapist and ultimately done independently at home.

Other Tips to Get Relief from Back Pain

If you’re experiencing back pain, there are several tips you can follow to ease your pain and promote healing.

  • Sleep on a firm surface such as a mattress or a futon, to reduce the pressure on your back. 75% of orthopedic surgeons believe that a firm surface is better for your back.
  • Add a pillow under your knees when lying on your back or between your knees when side lying to take pressure off your back.
  • Use heat or preferably low intensity exercise such as walking to increase blood flow to low back muscles to promote healing.
  • Eat smaller meals that are lower in fat to help reduce body weight to decrease strain on low back structures.
  • Don’t sit for long periods of time. Get up and move around.
  • Try to avoid lifting objects that are too heavy. Test an item prior to lifting to determine if help from others would be a wise decision.
  • Don’t smoke; smoking increases your risk of developing back pain

At Twin Boro, we offer non-invasive, non-surgical treatment options customized to each patient’s requirements. Our physical therapists work collaboratively with patients and map out a plan suited to their needs.

Why Choose Twin Boro for Back Pain Physical Therapy?

Back pain can be triggered by many things, and there are many ways to treat it. Physical therapy treatments can be used to treat your pain, strengthen your muscles, and improve your mobility and posture. Physical therapy exercises can be used to help strengthen your core muscles and reduce your pain while increasing your functional ability.

Twin Boro treats its patients with care and dedication. We are experts in the treatment orthopedic and neurological conditions including back pain. Our goal is to improve your quality of life and empower you with the tools and training to continue exercising at home at your convenience. If you’re experiencing back pain, don’t leave it unattended and deal with it alone. Contact us today and we’ll be happy to guide you through our appointment scheduling process. Take the first step on your road to recovery.

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