Back Pain TreatmentNewport Beach, CA
Back pain can result on its own or can be the result of an injury, health condition, disorder, or disease. Physical therapists work with patients to reduce pain and other associated symptoms by treating the root cause, implementing lifestyle changes, and developing a safe and effective exercise routine. Understanding the types of back pain, its causes, and poor habits that impact the back allows you to take back control of and manage your pain.
At Orange County Physical Therapy, we offer back pain treatments for patients experiencing acute or chronic back pain. Our team can help identify the cause, make a diagnosis, and provide the necessary treatment. To learn more about a procedure or schedule an appointment, call (949) 299-0297 today.
Types of Back Pain
Back pain is one of the most common reasons people seek medical attention. Millions of Americans struggle with back pain, and it is the leading cause of disability in those younger than 45. Back pain is one of the most common medical problems and is estimated to affect eight out of 10 people at some point in life. Back pain may feel like a sudden sharp pain or a constant dull ache. Some signs and symptoms of back pain include stabbing or shooting pain, muscle ache, and pain that radiates down the leg. Other symptoms include pain that improves with reclining and pain that worsens with lifting, bending, walking, or standing. Back pain can be classified as acute or chronic.
Acute Pain: Acute pain occurs abruptly and often lasts for a few days to a few weeks. It is categorized as "acute" if it lasts for four to six weeks before disappearing completely. Most acute back pain can be classified as mechanical. Pain caused by increasing stress to vertebrae or muscles may be considered a mechanical issue. The pain may spread to other areas, including the thighs, buttocks, or knees. Many people who suffer from back pain also experience spasms. Mechanical back pain is more noticeable when lifting heavy objects or flexing the back.
Chronic Pain: Chronic pain is pain that persists beyond four to 12 weeks. If pain lasts for this long, further medical evaluation is needed. This pain is usually related to the discs, spinal joints, or the back’s supporting muscles. Chronic back pain is considered severe if it does not improve with rest and at-home remedies, causes numbness, weakness, or tingling in the legs, spreads down one or both legs, or is accompanied by weight loss.
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Common Causes and Symptoms of Back Pain
The back is a large area with many moving parts vulnerable to strain and injury. Physical condition, posture, lifestyle, work habits, and injury can all contribute to back pain. It tends to become more common as people age, compounded by the fact that so many people lead a sedentary lifestyle. Improper lifting and posture can also contribute to many people’s back pain. Conditions that can cause back pain include herniated discs and Sciatica.
Pain can range from a dull ache to an intense burning or stabbing sensation and can vary in intensity from mild to debilitating. Pain can radiate down a person’s legs or arms and worsen when bending or making certain movements. Back pain can cause numbness, stiffness, or weakness. Physical therapy is one of the most effective treatments in easing back pain, stiffness, and compression.
Physical Therapy Treatments for Back Pain
Physical therapy for back pain consists of various treatments that target affected areas of the back in a more natural way. The goal of treatment is to nurture and condition the muscles and ligaments gradually until they begin functioning as normal, reducing pain and allowing for easier, more comfortable movement.
A variety of back pain exercises we use can be implemented at home, including:
- Superman: One of the exercises that people with back pain will perform is called the superman exercise. This exercise is performed by laying on the stomach and gradually raising the four limbs off the ground slightly. This is going to work all of the muscles in the back, helping to strengthen them.
- Abdominal Exercises: Some exercises are going to be performed with people lying on their back. This helps strengthen the core muscles. With stronger core muscles, people will have improved stability overall. This will remove a lot of stress from the back, helping people feel better. Some of the exercises that might be necessary to strengthen the core include sit-ups, crunches, and leg lifts.
- Bridge Exercises: Those who suffer from back pain will also be encouraged to perform bridge exercises. These exercises will strengthen the muscles of the back and improve their flexibility as well. This can prevent people from injuring their back even further. A bridge exercise is performed by placing the hands and feet on the ground. Then, the back is raised up gradually to stretch the muscles and ligaments.
Benefits of Seeking Physical Therapy Treatment
Back pain is one of the most common reasons why people seek the care of a physical therapist. There are numerous benefits that come from investing in physical therapy for back pain. Physical therapy might be able to help someone avoid surgery, manage pain, and even recover after a surgical procedure.
The primary goals of physical therapy are to decrease pain, increase function, and provide guidance and tools to prevent further recurrences. Our exercises are available to our patients through videos on YouTube as well as instructions given during sessions. This allows patients to take control of their health and manage their pain in between sessions as well as post-treatment.
Post-Treatment and Recovery
In many cases, physical therapy and at-home management are enough to relieve pain and other symptoms associated with back pain. Proper posture is a crucial element in reducing back pain. In addition to improving posture when sitting, we encourage patients to try various home remedies and monitor those that work for them. These include, but are not limited to, changing their positioning when sitting and sleeping, applying ice, using a heating pad, taking over-the-counter medication, using a back support, getting a massage, and exercising or doing yoga.
Depending on the patient’s case, we will recommend certain exercises and lifestyle changes that will help their condition. We may schedule a follow-up visit a week or two following the last session in their treatment plan to monitor their condition and assess whether the treatment went as desired. Patients can also contact us at any time and schedule a session as needed.
Schedule a Visit Today
Back pain consultations and treatments are available at our office. The Orange County Physical Therapy team looks forward to treating you and helping you learn to manage your pain and symptoms at home. Call our office at (949) 299-0297 to learn more or schedule an appointment.
Frequently Asked Questions About Back Pain Treatment
Q. Can I use hot or cold compresses to ease back pain at home?
A. An ice pack and a hot pack can both work to ease back pain. However, it is important to know when to use each. Typically, it is recommended to use a cold pack first for pain resulting from an injury. Once the swelling and inflammation are reduced, apply the hot pack. The heat will improve flexibility and increase blood flow to the area, which aids in healing.
Q. Are there certain factors that make a person more prone to back pain?
A. People tend to associate back pain with aging. While that is a leading factor, there are many additional factors that raise one’s risk of developing back pain as well. Those risk factors include being overweight, diseases such as cancer or arthritis, having mental health issues such as depression and anxiety, improper lifting techniques, lack of exercise, and smoking.
Q. What lifestyle changes or habits can I implement to reduce back pain?
A. Proper posture is a crucial element in reducing back pain. In addition to improving your posture when sitting, you can try various home remedies and monitor those that work for you. These include, but are not limited to, changing your positioning, applying ice, using a heating pad, taking over-the-counter medication, using a back support, getting a massage, and exercising or doing yoga.
Q. Will I need medication for a chronic back condition?
A. When back pain limits or prevents a patient from performing normal daily activities, a doctor may prescribe medication to alleviate pain. However, medication is not always necessary. In many cases, physical therapy and other therapies can be done to reduce pain and other symptoms. In other cases, surgery may be required.
Q. When does surgery become necessary?
A. Surgery becomes necessary for severe cases that do not improve with medication, therapy, or other non-surgical treatments. This is often when a patient experiences leg weakness, incontinence, or numbness together. It could be caused by cauda equina syndrome, a serious illness characterized by spinal cord nerve damage.
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