Physical Therapy for the Lower Back How to Prevent and Treat Lower Back Pain


Published on

Lower back pain is one of the leading reasons people in the United States visit their doctors. It will inhibit the lives of millions of Americans this year.

  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Physical Therapy for the Lower Back How to Prevent and Treat Lower Back Pain

  1. 1. ==== ====Learn how to get rid of your back pain fast. Check out this ====Lower back pain is one of the most common causes of job-related disability and why some peoplemiss work. It is also the second most common neurological ailment in the United States, secondonly to headache. In fact, approximately 80% of adults in Western countries have, at some point,experienced lower back pain.For some fortunate people, pain in the lower back may be resolved by itself or with the aid ofmedication within two to four weeks. However, there are some cases of lower back pain that maylast for more than a few weeks, during which case the condition is termed as "chronic" and"progressive," meaning it can only grow worse over time.Moreover, 60-80% of those patients who suffer their first episode of lower back pain mayexperience recurring pain within one year.According to current research, there are certain muscles in the back that work to stabilize thespine. When the spine or the back suffers an injury, these muscles are reflexively inhibited orshutdown. Worse still, these muscles do not spontaneously recover, and this is true even ifpatients do not feel pain and are able to return to normal activity levels.As a result of the inhibition of these muscles, called lumbar multifidi and the transversusabdominus, lower back pain occurs. However, there are steps you can take to prevent the samething from happening to you.Lower Back Pain and Physical TherapyOne way to prevent the inhibition of the lumbar multifidi and transversus abdominus is through aseries of physical therapy exercises.Designed to strengthen the muscles of the lower back and keep the spine healthy, these physicaltherapy exercises may range from back stabilization exercises to muscle strength developmentand several wide variety of techniques.In addition, a physical therapist may also recommend such methods as heat therapy, ultrasound,massage, mobilization, and education about posture and body mechanics in order to preventlower back pain from recurring.Some of these methods will be discussed later on. You will also find some practical self-help tipsprovided by experts to help you avoid lower back pain or prevent the condition from worsening.However, before we head on to learning how lower back pain is treated through physical therapy,
  2. 2. it is important that we first understand what causes lower back pain.Lower Back Pain: CAUSESThere are actually many types of back pain, but the most common is pain in the lower back. Why?You might ask. The reason is simple: you carry most of your weight in the lower back. Thus, it ishighly likely that a person would suffer pain in that area.There is no definitive cause of lower back pain. Sometimes, the causes of the condition are socomplex that it is difficult to pinpoint just a single one.However, physical therapists and other healthcare professionals have observed that lower backpain is often a result of strained back muscles and ligaments due to any of the following activities:oImproper postureoHeavy liftingoSudden awkward movementoMuscle spasmoStressWe could all be guilty of the above activities. We may not suffer any back pains now, but it is likelythat as we get older and the degree of inhibition of the back muscles as a result of these activitiesincreases, back pain becomes a very distinct possibility.In addition to these common activities, lower back pain may also result from specific conditions,such as:oHerniated disk (when the disk material presses on a nerve)oSciatica (when a herniated disk presses on the sciatic nerve. The condition causes sharp,shooting pain through the buttocks and the back of the leg.)oSpinal stenosis (when the space around the spinal cord and nerve roots becomes narrow. This iscaused by arthritis and bone overgrowth, the pain resulting from when a nerve gets pinched in thenarrow space.)oSpondylosis (a type of arthritis affecting the spine due to degenerative changes brought on byaging)oSpondylolisthesis (when one vertebra in the spinal column slips forward over another)Lower Back Pain: TREATMENTThe treatment of lower back pain depends on several factors, including the specific type of lower
  3. 3. back pain (whether it is chronic or acute) and the purported cause.For instance, acute lower back pain is commonly treated with pain relieving drugs, such asanalgesics, or some forms of exercises that can help relax the muscles.On the other hand, chronic back pain - or one that lasts for more than two weeks and isprogressive - may be caused by some underlying condition, during which case the treatment planmay consist of resolving the underlying condition to treat the back pain.Lower Back Pain and Physical Therapy ExercisePhysical therapy exercise is one of the most common methods of treating lower back pain. In fact,many home remedies for lower back pain consist of exercise, because the general theory is that ifyou remain active, you remain healthy. This is true in most cases.However, for purposes of this article, the exercises featured here will be those that are practicedby physical therapists to treat patients with lower back pain.Generally, in physical therapy exercises, the exercise program for back pain should encompass aset of stretching exercises, strengthening exercises, and low impact aerobics. Read below formore on these exercises:-StretchingThe back of a person is composed of the spinal column and contiguous muscles, ligaments andtendons. All these are designed to move in consonance with each other so that any limitation inthe range of motion in any of these components of the back result in back pain.Stretching for lower back pain specifically targets soft tissues, such as muscles, ligaments andtendons, found in the back and around the spine. By stretching, the spine and soft tissues aremobilized, increasing motion and thus, relieving pain.There are many kinds of stretching exercises employed by physical therapists. One is theHamstring Stretching Exercise which works to relax tight hamstrings, a common symptom of lowerback pain. This exercise is said to help decrease the intensity of lower back pain among sufferers.-StrengtheningPhysical therapists generally use two forms of strengthening and back pain relief exercises,usually depending on the specific condition of the patient. These are the McKenzie exercises anddynamic lumbar stabilization exercises. However, the two forms of strengthening exercises mayalso be combined should the therapist find it appropriate to do so.-McKenzie ExercisesNamed after a physical therapist in New Zealand, McKenzie exercises are primarily extensionexercises that could help reduce pain generated from the disc space and also may help reducethe symptoms of herniated disc by reducing pressure on a nerve root.
  4. 4. For acute pain, the McKenzie exercises should be done frequently, at least once every two hours.In addition, patients are advised to avoid flexing their spine when exercising.-Dynamic Lumbar Stabilization ExercisesUsing this back exercise technique, the first thing that a physical therapist does is to look for thepatients "neutral" spine. This refers to the position that allows the patient to feel the mostcomfortable.Afterwards, when the patient is in that position, the back muscles are then exercised in order to"teach" the spine how to stay in this position.Performing these exercises on a regular basis can help strengthen the back muscles and keep thespine well-positioned.Low Impact Aerobic ExercisesThe purpose of low impact aerobic exercise is to recondition the back. Patients who undergoreconditioning of the back through low impact aerobic exercise will have fewer episodes of lowerback pain.In addition, whenever an episode of lower back pain does occur, the pain is less intense and lastsonly for a short period.Another benefit of low impact aerobic exercise is that patients tend to stay functional - that is, theycan continue with their regular work and carry on with recreational activities. In contrast, patientswho do not undergo low impact aerobic exercises typically experience the gradual loss of theirfunctional abilities.For low impact aerobic exercises to achieve their desired results, they should be continuous. Thiswill increase the heart rate and keep it elevated as well as increase the production of endorphins,which are pain fighting hormones released by the body.Here are some examples of low impact aerobic exercises that you may want to try in order tolessen or reduce lower back pain:-WalkingOne of the simplest forms of aerobic exercises, walking is generally considered as very gentle onthe back. To get the maximum benefit from walking as a form of low impact aerobic exercise, walktwo to three miles three times per week.-Stationary BicyclingThis form of aerobic exercise is less painful on the back since there is lower impact produced. Thisis beneficial for patients with lower back pain who may find walking too painful.
  5. 5. -Water TherapySometimes referred to as aquatherapy, water therapy is simply doing exercise in the water. Thebuoyancy works to provide effective conditioning at the same time stress on the back is reduced.Nishanth Reddy is an author and publisher of many health related websites. Visit his website formore information about lower back pain relief and treatment methods. Learn different treatmentmethods used for back pain relief.Lower Back Pain ReliefArticle Source: ====Learn how to get rid of your back pain fast. Check out this ====