When people seek medical help for neck or back pain, they have several different possibilities in the back of their minds. Some are hoping for a diagnosis that sets all worries aside, telling them that their discomfort will abate in a matter of days with the addition of ice, rest, and perhaps some medication. Some are expecting a need for surgery, while others fear that outcome.
In many cases, after a thorough examination and testing our spine specialists will recommend beginning with physical therapy.
When your back pain specialist sends you to see a physical therapist for neck pain or back pain, the therapist will work with you to create a regimen of exercises and postures to strengthen and rehabilitate all of the structures that support your spine, including the muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints.
They will also focus on body positioning and its role in your comfort, with the goal of educating you on the importance of stretching and strengthening and their role in helping you manage your pain and accelerate healing. They will work with you on improving your posture, as well as providing you with a variety of lessons on proper movement and resting positions designed to help you preserve your spine and protect it from future injury.
The exercises that you do will be specifically chosen for their ability to restore flexibility and mobility and to get rid of pain and stiffness.
When you have successfully completed physical therapy you will have strengthened the muscles that are involved in supporting your back, you will have incorporated better postures and movements, and you will be able to return to normal activities with a level of confidence and reduced discomfort and a better chance of avoiding a return of pain in the future. You will also have learned both protective measures to prevent you from hurting yourself in the future, as well as how to treat yourself if you do encounter more pain.
Though some patients do not immediately appreciate the usefulness of physical therapy, or are resistant or fearful of its exercises, there is a significant amount of research showing that when it is introduced early in the course of back pain, it is extremely effective at not only eliminating pain, but also preventing a progressive deterioration of the spine that can lead to the eventual need for surgery.
Some patients’ back or neck pain os a result of degenerative disease or injury that has gone well beyond the point where this type of rehabilitative exercise can be of help, but if your physical situation is addressed with physical therapy early enough, there is a good chance that it will provide you with real relief and the ability to avoid more invasive interventions.
To get your back pain diagnosed and see if physical therapy is the right first step for you, contact us today and set up a convenient time to come in for an appointment.