Who has low back pain?
According the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), nearly two thirds of Americans experience back pain. One third of adults say low back pain affects their sleep. Back pain doesn't just happen to hard laborers. In fact, over half of people who experience low back pain spend the majority of their workday sitting.
Can my low back pain also cause pain in other locations?
Problems in the low back can cause pain, numbness, tingling weakness, or all three. These symptoms can be in your back, or may travel into your buttocks or down your leg. Sometimes this pain is caused by a tight or injured muscle, pinched nerves, or problems with the bones or discs. Physical therapists are well trained to determine the cause and the treatment for low back pain.
What does Physical Therapy for low back pain look like?
Every person who comes to Millburn Physical Therapy gets an individualized plan set up to their specific needs. On your first visit, you will meet with a licensed physical therapist who will determine what is needed to get you feeling better. Throughout the process you will be working with us in the clinic, as well as learning exercises to do at home. Because we know that what you do on your own is very important, we give each person a handout with pictures of exercises specific for their condition.
Initially, treatment usually focuses on decreasing pain. This could include hands¬-on work from our therapists, very gentle exercises and stretches, or passive techniques like heat/cold with pain-relieving electrical stimulation.
The next phase involves getting you moving again. This means we will find movements that you can do within your pain tolerance to improve motion. You may have stretches needed to improve your muscle balance, and you may start strengthening muscles. We try to get your pain down and movement better before we start the final phase.
The final phase involves strengthening your core. This is the key to keeping the gains you have made, and preventing further injury. This will involve focused exercises at the hips, abs, and low back muscles. We then incorporate your new strength gains into movement patterns that you use throughout your typical day. Once you are able to do these well, you should have all the skills necessary to decrease your risk of returning to back pain.