Low back pain is the most commonly treated ailment at WPT. However, there are lots of ways to go about positively affecting someone’s back pain. Today we’re going to look at 5 common interventions that can decrease your pain, improve your mobility, and ultimately improve the quality of your life!
This is going to focus on the most typical Physical Therapy interventions. Surprise to no one, I’m biased toward conservative PT management! Whodathunkit. However, the research is really clear on this one too. Conservative, active management is the most successful way to deal with nagging back pain.
So what can you do to help your back pain?
1. Mobility work/stretching. Getting your spine and hips more mobile, and your low back and hip muscles long is a great way to decrease pain. Tight muscles often have less blood flow, increased stagnant acid (a byproduct of cellular respiration), and less than optimal communication with our brains via our nerves (which is where all pain is interpreted and produced). Therefore, taking your muscles and joints to end ranges will positively affect blood flow, flush the acids that need flushing, and restore better understanding between the muscles and your noggin.
2. Core and pelvic muscle stabilization. Having your core braced well with good recruitment and strong stabilizer muscles will support your spine, and is a big part of effective treatment. Those muscles can certainly shut down after an injury or the onset of pain, and it’s really hard work facilitating the retraining of those muscles to do the jobs they were designed to do. However, it’s critical work and often one of the most important predictors for long term success.
3. Functional strength training. Getting stronger for life’s tasks will reduce the strain on your low back and make you more capable and less at risk for further injury or pain. Things hurt less when daily life isn’t as hard as the work you’re putting into your gym or home program routine!
4. Manual therapy. Mobilizing specific spinal segments can be a very good way to hit the reset button and restore our bodies natural state, opening up the door for the proper movement patterns, recruitment and coordination of the correct muscles.
5. Cardiovascular exercise. Making your lungs and heart work will release all of the good chemicals that will positively influence your pain experience and lead to decreased pain.
The reality is that it’s very likely that treatment for your low back pain is going to involve many of the interventions we’ve discussed. Most of the time there are multiple factors that contribute to back pain. It’s really unusual for your back pain to be a result of a single joint in your back being rotated, or one single tight muscle. Our aim is to assure that we’re addressing all of the factors that are influencing your back to be in pain, and maximize the chances that you’re going to leave here feeling like a million bucks, not just temporarily, but for GOOD!