3 percent of individuals with progressive curvature may eventually experience severe problems that can include scoliosis and back pain, spinal problems, and nerve compression causing numbness, weakness, and leg pain.
Physical Therapy for the Spine
It might be tempting to spend the entire day on the couch if you have neck or back pain. However, that is a recipe for more pain. Certainly, physical therapy and exercise are often one of the most effective ways to reduce pain. Chiefly, patients must overcome getting up and moving even though this might be the last thing they feel like doing. Back pain that is chronic or recurrent can significantly affect your life by impairing your mobility, interfering with your ability to work and engage in daily activities, and degrading your quality of life. Therefore, the “terrible triad” of suffering, as described by our spinal therapists, can result from persistent back pain.
Unfortunately, back pain occupies a patient’s thoughts, making them anxious and more depressed. Consequently, this causes sleeplessness and exhaustion, which furthers the development of depression, discomfort, and irritability. Although it’s a vicious cycle, the right treatment program offers hope. Basically, a physical therapist will work with you to create goals that will lessen your symptoms and stop the disease from getting worse. You’ll learn how to exercise safely and carry on with your regular daily activities.
Physical Therapy: Neck Pain and Back Pain
Most people will at some point in their lives experience neck or back pain. Physical therapists can treat many painful situations without the use of drugs or invasive surgery. Their expertise will allow patients to get back to their daily activities and reclaim a better lifestyle. That could involve anything from just getting out of bed without groaning to resuming skiing. Physical therapists identify and manage conditions brought on by trauma, illness, and other factors. They work with people of all ages and use methods that lessen or eliminate pain in order to restore normal movement. Ultimately, physical therapy promotes an active lifestyle based on the numerous benefits of regular exercise, which include:
- Stronger joints.
- a decrease in inflammation.
- a decrease in depression.
- And a sustained, higher quality of life with fewer flare-ups of injury.
Physical Therapy for the Spine Includes:
Your physical therapist can assist with a range of therapeutic approaches, such as:
The most crucial form of treatment for reducing pain and increasing mobility is exercise. Your physical therapist will recommend a set of low-impact exercises that will strengthen the muscles in your hips, abdomen, and spine to help you stand, walk, and balance more steadily and reduce your risk of falling.
Before beginning any exercise program, speak with your doctor or physical therapist.
Based on the results of your initial evaluation, your physical therapist will recommend specific stretching exercises for your spine, arms, or legs. Stretching and exercise are especially important for obese people. Stretching along with strengthening may slow the disease’s progression.
Learning to feel better and carry on with your activities is symptom management. Sometimes people worry that getting more active will make their symptoms worse or make them more painful. Your physical therapist will teach you how to increase your activity level without making your symptoms worse. Your therapist will work with you to determine your ideal activity levels and create a special plan to keep you active.
Daily activity training
Your physical therapist can show you how to bend and walk more easily, as well as how to get in and out of a chair, the bathtub, and the bed with ease.
Use of modalities
You might use treatment modalities like heat or ice to help control your symptoms.
Your physical therapist might employ gentle manual therapy (hands-on techniques) to help loosen up your spine and reduce stiffness.
Balance and walking training
You can use exercises and guidance to safely increase your balance and lower your risk of falling.
Specialized braces or taping
To support your joints, your physical therapist might apply tape or use specialized braces. In more severe circumstances, back bracing may be used.
Obesity increases the likelihood that your upper back will have more spinal impairment. Your physical therapist can advise you on nutritionists and assist you in increasing your activity levels. We always advise people to seek therapy for the following three reasons. Declaring that you will work out for an hour is simple. But things happen—the phone rings, there’s a problem at home, you become busy—and you either arrive in a half-hour or don’t. In therapy, you have an hour of undisrupted time to focus solely on your body’s healing. Additionally, if you have an appointment, you will feel more pressure to go.
The exercises’ actual mechanics make up the second factor. It can be challenging to perform the exercises on your own, and if you don’t do them correctly, some of them may even make your pain worse. A therapist can observe you to make sure you’re following all the instructions. Last but not least, physical therapy is a place to learn as well as a place to get better. Although you won’t stay in therapy indefinitely, it will give you exercises you can do at home and incorporate into your routine indefinitely.
Therapy & Recovery for the Neck Pain
A muscle strain, a sprain in a neck ligament or tendon, a disc injury, arthritic changes, or trauma can all cause neck pain. This can result from a neck strain from daily activities or an injury like whiplash. Physical therapists examine you to determine the source of your pain before prescribing therapy to reduce it. Exercises for flexibility, posture instruction, joint mobilization to ensure proper vertebral alignment and increase neck range of motion, massage, and strengthening and conditioning exercises are some of the possible treatments.
Passive and Active Physical Therapy
Physical therapy typically consists of these two elements:
- Passive physical therapy reduces back pain temporarily by employing heating pads, cooling packs, electrical nerve stimulators, and other techniques.
- Active physical therapy, which includes daily stretches and targeted exercises to strengthen the lower back for more stability; this, in turn, increases the production of muscle around the spine and discs, relieving pressure on the back
Spinal decompression therapy is a different type of physical therapy that treats lower back pain, neck pain, and pain brought by herniated discs. The best results from decompression therapy are seen in post-surgical patients.
General Therapy and Spine-Specialized Therapy
One of the ways to end pain permanently is to alter the back’s physiology by exercising. Exercising will make the back stronger, more flexible, and injury-resistant. While a general physical therapist may try for weeks to use heat, ice, or ultrasound to mask pain, research has shown that doing so does not have any long-term benefits. Because of this, the majority of health insurance companies no longer cover passive, feel-good treatments that involve heat or ice. Presently, the insurance industry believes you can complete this task by yourself at home.
The spine is a unique issue that requires specialized training. Every day, a large variety of patients with issues related to sore elbows, knees, or shoulders visit a general physical therapist. While general physical therapists are very adept at treating many sports medicine conditions, they frequently have very little knowledge of the most effective methods for treating particular types of back problems. As spine experts, we address a range of issues seen at the Southwest Scoliosis and Spine Institute. These conditions can be very complex and require extensive training in the field of spine care. For instance, a spine-specific therapist’s main objective is to get the patient started on a customized home exercise program during their first visit. The second objective of the therapist is to quickly transform the patient out of therapy.
In manual therapy, the therapist’s hands are used to relieve pain. For instance, the spine therapist can treat soft tissue and vertebral areas with hands-on movements to relieve pain by employing specific techniques. Generally, this is accomplished by actively moving the joints and tissues rather than passively using a modality like ice or heat. Otherwise, a manual therapist differs from other physical therapists by having advanced training in the spine after completing their physical therapy education. Overall, this specialized training can be found in a variety of manual therapy philosophies, each of which uses particular pain-relieving methods to speed up patients’ return to function. Finally, no matter which school of thought is used, the best spine therapists keep away from passive modalities because they don’t offer long-term relief.
Orthopedic Spine Therapy
Physical therapy for injuries or pain coming from the back, neck, shoulders, and/or pelvis is known as orthopedic spine therapy. Also, it is non-invasive because there is no need for surgery. Certainly, spine therapy is used to treat a variety of illnesses or as part of a post-operative recovery plan. For example, spine therapy targets the skeletal system, muscle groups, and intervertebral discs of the spinal column for adjustment, pain relief, posture correction, and functional improvement, in contrast to physical therapy, which takes a more generalized approach to rehabilitation. Physical therapists do not provide spinal therapy; orthopedic spine therapists do. Ultimately, up to 80% of all Americans may experience spinal pain at some point in their lifetime, which is surprisingly common. It is frequently recurrent and can be crippling. Furthermore, plan a visit with an orthopedic doctor if you are experiencing back pain.
Do you have questions? Are you in Pain? We invite you to talk with the experts. Call the Scoliosis and Spine Institute for an appointment with one of our doctors. We will talk and find a solution.
We’re here to help STOP THE PAIN
If you are an adult living with scoliosis or have a child with this condition and need a doctor who specializes in orthopedic surgery,
call the Southwest Scoliosis and Spine Institute at 214-556-0555 to make an appointment today.