Exercise can strengthen and stretch muscles that support the spine.
Physical therapy also helps reduce pain, improve movement, and help prevent future back problems.
It is difficult to predict how many visits of physical therapy will be necessary but initial prescriptions are often one-to-two visits per week for four-to-six weeks.
Prescriptions for physical therapy may include one or several of the below physical therapy treatments:
Manual physical therapy – When stiff joints and ligaments contribute to back pain, a trained therapist can identify tissue restriction and utilize hands-on techniques to improve range of motion and reduce inflammation.
Our physical therapists will create an individualized treatment plan to determine the combination of movement and manual therapy to best suit the needs of the patient.
ICE – Ice, Compression, Elevation. Ice is used to reduce inflammation after injury.
Our physical therapists instruct patients on the appropriate use of ice as a treatment modality.
Compression helps to limit swelling at the area of injury by applying direct pressure.
Elevation is often used when an injury occurs to a limb of the body with the goal of elevating the arm or leg above the level of the heart using gravity to reduce swelling.
Postural Assessments – Skilled therapists evaluate posture to determine how other parts of the body may compensate in a setting of pain and if there is a relationship between multiple areas of pain.
The assessment is generally incorporated into the physical exam to use the findings to fine tune the treatment plan.
Ergonomic Assessment – Our therapists can simulate an office work station to critique the work space. Making just subtle changes in the work environment can lead to big improvements in day to day discomfort.
Running and Gait Analysis – By observing a patient walk or run a therapist can identify areas of weakness that may contribute to pain. The weakened areas can then be specifically addressed with strengthening and stretching exercises.
Exercises – A variety of exercises may be used to strengthen specific muscles to improve overall function. The physical therapist will often modify the exercises used throughout treatment depending on progress and exercise tolerance.
Pain Reducing Modalities – Your physical therapist may use electric stimulation, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) unit, heat or massage as part of your treatment.
Sacroiliac (SI) Joint Therapy – The SI joint can often contribute to low back pain. When identified as a source of pain your health care provider may prescribe specialized physical therapy to treat Si joint dysfunction.
Modalities to treat the SI joint may include manual therapy and pelvic strengthening exercises.
After Surgery Inpatient Rehabilitation – If a surgery is performed requiring an overnight stay or longer in the hospital you may be seen once a day by a physical therapist.
The role of the inpatient physical therapist is to guide your movements, teach proper body mechanics, and ensure that you are stable for discharge to home. They will perform stair climbing with you prior to going home.
The physical therapist, in conjunction with an occupational therapist, will also determine if you need a walker or other assistive devices for use at home.
After Surgery Outpatient Rehabilitation – Once you have returned home after surgery, the physical therapist is an integral part of the recovery process.
Typically physical therapy starts several weeks after surgery depending on the procedure and anticipated recovery.
Our physical therapists evaluate the original pathway of injury that brought the patient to surgery. The therapists then customize care while teaching neutral positions, body mechanics, core muscle utilization, and body position awareness unique to each patient.
By using functional scoring systems the therapist is able to monitor improvement and progress which is then reported to your health care provider.
Let us connect you with a physician who can help you get back to living with less pain.