What is Back Pain?
Back pain is commonly related to injuries but may also stem from mechanical or structural spine problems, inflammatory diseases, or other medical issues. Discomfort may feel like sharp pain in a localized area, be constant and aching throughout the back, or radiate away from the back to the buttocks and down to the feet. Pain may be its worst in the morning, with inactivity, during certain movements, or may come and go. Luckily, physical therapy is often an effective back pain treatment.
Understanding Back Anatomy
The back is made up of the spine, spinal cord, muscles, ligaments, and nerves. It provides the main structure for the body’s trunk, is required for all gross motor movement, and sends signals to and from the brain to other parts of the body. The lower back must carry a heavy weight load, both from the pressure of supporting your upper body and stress/force required to push, pull, lift, and carry. These requirements cause your low back to be particularly prone to injury, overuse, and wear and tear.
Causes of Back Pain
Back pain can come on suddenly after a traumatic injury or symptoms may become more noticeable as they progress over a longer period of time. Typically, back pain presents in the lumbar region. Back pain may be the result of:
Back Pain Conditions We Treat
SportsCare Physical Therapists are experts in back pain treatment and back injury rehabilitation. Below are conditions often associated with low back pain that may cause distress and limit the range of motion of the spine. PT for back pain or spinal issues can greatly improve one’s quality of life. Our physical therapists often treat these conditions:
Back Pain Treatment
If you are struggling with back pain, physical therapy at SportsCare aims to provide both quick and long-term relief. Our physical therapists have extensive experience treating a wide variety of back issues and will tailor your plan of care to best meet YOUR needs. At your first appointment, your physical therapist will perform a comprehensive physical evaluation; including discussing your concerns, goals, and medical history. Your PT will design a customized a back pain treatment program that may include:
- Manual Therapy
- Therapeutic Exercises
- Posture and Lifting mechanics
- Treatment and education to reduce inflammation
- Education for injury prevention
- Home Exercise Program
- Extracorporeal shockwave therapy
- Spinal Traction
- AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill
- Unweighted Treadmill System
- Aquatic Pool Therapy
- Intermittent Compression with Cold (Game Ready and Normatec)
- Electrical stimulation, ultrasound, and cold/heat modalities
- Gait training
Frequently Asked Questions
This varies from condition to condition. The range is vast, but typically ranges from two weeks to several months depending on the type and severity of low back dysfunction.
Typically, your physician provides a PT referral after a moderate to severe back injury. For mild cases of nagging backache that are unresolving, PT for back pain is also indicated.
Physical therapy for back pain typically lasts 45 minutes to an hour per visit, with a typical frequency of 1-2 days per week. The duration could be a couple of weeks to a few months depending on the severity of the back injury.
This depends on the severity of said injury. Often, patients do not have to miss any work at all. Minor work modifications with lifting techniques and/or weight restrictions are often recommended.
This determination is on a case-by-case basis. A thorough PT evaluation and follow up care is needed to accurately determine how soon the patient can return to sports.
If the back pain is unilateral (meaning it is biased to either the left or right side) typically lying on the non-painful side with a pillow between the knees is most comfortable.
Here is a list of the insurance plans accepted by SportsCare Physical Therapy and Armworks Hand Therapy. If you are unsure of your coverage or if your plan is accepted, please contact one of our offices. We are happy to assist you in learning about your benefits.
SportsCare Physical Therapy has offices in Gresham, Sandy, NE Portland, Clackamas, Beaverton, and Salem. For location specific contact information click here.