Low back pain is a common issue that almost everyone experiences at least once in their lifetime. It can present itself in various forms and with various symptoms with symptoms that can include localized pain in the lower back as well as pain in the pelvic area. It can also be a pain that starts in the lower back and radiate down into the legs. Scheduling an appointment with a physical therapist for back pain can significantly reduce the amount of pain one might be experiencing.
What Causes Acute Low Back Pain?
There are many different structures in the lower back that can become injured and cause these symptoms. That is to say, identifying the issue is vitally important in order to give the appropriate treatment. These are some of the most common reasons that you might experience low back pain:
- Acute Low Back Pain: Acute low back pain is most often caused by a simple muscular strain often due to overuse or injury. Another common cause of low back pain that is seen with acute low back strain is the tightness of the hip flexor muscles. This is located in the front of the thigh. The hip flexor muscles originate on the lumbar spine and go out through the pelvic area to attach to the femur. These muscles are very strong and powerful muscles that aid in core stabilization. If they become strained or tight they can produce tension on the lower back and legs. As a result, causing symptoms of pain in the lower back.
- Sciatica: Sciatica is often caused by problems with what’s called intervertebral discs. These are located between the vertebrae of the back and help to cushion and absorb impact throughout the spine when doing every day activities. The intervertebral discs can get compressed and have bulges that will impede or impinge on nerves exiting the spine. Sciatic pain is caused when the sciatic nerves are compressed by the errant intervertebral discs or byproducts of a ruptured disc. It can cause severe pain and aching that runs all the way down the leg and sometimes the foot. It can also cause symptoms such as numbness, tingling, and weakness in certain muscle groups that are innervated by the sciatic nerve.
- Pelvic or SI Joint Pain: There are SI joints on either side of your pelvis where the sacrum (or your tailbone) meets up with your pelvic bone. This joint can become inflamed and dysfunctional in some people causing significant pain and instability.
- Facet Joint Dysfunction: Throughout the whole spine are joints called facet joints. These joints can become dysfunctional and inflamed and almost feel as if they are out of place or locked up.
Physical therapy is proven to be a safe and effective treatment for back pain. It is unique, in that physical therapists can design exercise programs and treatment plans to your specific needs. This can help ease you back into physical activity, improve your range of motion and help to control and manage chronic pain.
Physical Therapy Interventions for Low Back Pain
These are some of the methods that physical therapists can use to help treat the most common causes of low back pain. Exercises that strengthen the core and low back can help prevent acute low back strains from happening to begin with.
Treatments can include:
- Applying Ice
- Soft Tissue Work
- Deep Tissue Laser Therapy
- Dry Needling
Physical Therapy for Back Pain Sciatica
One of the best treatments for sciatica symptoms is a specific technique called McKenzie directional preference therapy which reduces radiating symptoms down into the lower leg.
Other treatments that really help sciatica are:
- Stabilization Exercises
Physical Therapy for Pelvic or SI Joint Pain
Manual therapy and soft tissue work to the surrounding musculature help relieve muscle spasms and tightness that develop as a result of SI joint problems.
Other treatments include:
- Manipulation of the Joint
- Strengthening Exercises
Physical Therapy for Facet Joint Dysfunction
Manual therapy including joint mobilization and manipulation of the lumbar spine can help reduce pain in these joints and dramatically reduce dysfunction resulting from the problem.
Physical Therapy is the Best Treatment for Low Back Pain
Low back pain is a common ailment that can affect anyone. Most people don’t go through life without having a bout of low back pain. There are various structures in the low back that can cause pain, so it’s important to have a thorough evaluation done to help determine the source of the pain you are feeling. Having imaging done (such as MRIs or x-rays) too hastily can be misleading. It’s important to match the symptoms a person is having to any sort of image that is done and to evaluate all possibilities. This is done so that you can avoid any unnecessary injections or surgeries.
Find us at RX Rehab Physical Therapy, or call us to schedule an appointment. Our therapists are very experienced and have the knowledge and skills to provide a number of different ways to reach your goal of getting back to your normal self again.