Low back pain and Physical Therapy Management
At any given time around 25% of the population reports having low back pain in the past 3 months. Although mild cases resolve without any interventions, back pain can return or linger leading to reduced quality of life or even disability in some cases. Physical therapists through their assessment and skilled interventions can help people with low back pain to improve, as well as restore their ability to be more mobile while reducing pain.
Symptoms can be highly varied, and pain can range from being dull, burning, or sharp.
Low back pain can be classified into 3 types based on the duration of severity:
- Acute- lasting less than 3 months
- Recurrent- symptoms come back
- Chronic- pain lasting for more than 3 months
Although low back pain is very rarely serious or life-threatening, there are several conditions that could cause symptoms of pain and decreased mobility in patients’ lower back such as:
- Spinal stenosis of the lumbar region
- Fractures of the spine
- Disc herniations
- Tumors of the spine
- Muscular injuries/spasms
At Reddy Care Physical and Occupational Therapy patients receive a 4-phased approach to their plan of care to help improve their symptoms and restore their mobility. Physical therapists perform a thorough and detailed assessment to assess the quality of the pain, movements, and overall mobility levels after which therapeutic interventions are established to help achieve functional goals and improve mobility.
- Phase 1- Pain relief (Week 1 to 2)
This phase involves interventions directed towards the relief of pain. Through a combination of skilled manual techniques, joint mobilization, and modalities our therapists help reduce pain levels for patients suffering from lower back pain.
The primary goal is to achieve relief of pain both at rest, as well as during activity; also helping patients change positions without the onset of pain.
- Phase 2- Improving mobility and flexibility (Week 2 to 3)
During this phase, the focus is placed on improving the patient's mobility and flexibility. Through stretching and flexibility exercises patient’s movements and range of motion are improved without an increase or recurrence of pain. Therapists provide passive as well as active manual stretching techniques to help improve range of motion and teach the patient safe exercises to help assist with improvement in mobility.
The primary goal is to improve mobility of the lumbar as well as thoracolumbar region to promote improved flexibility without the onset of pain and use of proper body mechanics.
- Phase 3- Improving strength, stability, and coordination (Week 3 to 4)
This phase involves therapeutic exercises designed to improve muscle strength, improve stability of the spinal column by strengthening the core muscles. Physical therapists provide skilled therapeutic exercises to help improve the strength of muscles around the lumbar as well as sacral region to promote improved posture and body mechanics.
The primary goal during this phase is to achieve increased muscle strength of the abdominals as well as back extensor muscles to promote good postural reactions and improved body mechanics. Physical therapists assess for improved muscle strength on a continued basis to increase resistance and complexity of exercises.
- Phase 4- Improving functional endurance and aerobic conditioning (Week 4 to 5)
During this phase, patients are re-educated on functional movements to help return to prior levels of activity without recurrence of symptoms of pain and decreased mobility. Our therapists help patients identify functional goals and ensure that patients can safely perform all activities of daily living as well as recreational activities without the onset of pain.
The primary goal is to help patients return to their activities of daily living and/or recreational/athletic activities. These goals are established in the beginning and all the phases are directed towards achieving these goals with the latter weeks focusing on functional and ADL re-education. Focus is placed on helping patients achieve activities that require bending and changing positions quickly without the onset of pain or stiffness.
Through this approach, our therapists can help patients achieve a reduction in pain levels as well as improve their ability to perform their daily activities without pain and improved body mechanics. This approach helps improve patients’ quality of life as well as is designed to prevent further injury by promoting the use of correct body mechanics.
At Reddy Care Physical and Occupational Therapy, we can get you set up with the right therapist for you. Call today to schedule a consultation!
Reddy Care Great Neck (Great Neck Physical Therapy): 516-829-0030
Reddy Care Farmingdale (Farmingdale Physical Therapy): 516-420-2900
North Shore Towers: 718-224-8480
In-Home Physical & Occupational Therapy (Home Care): 516-829-0030
*Home therapy servicing Long Island, Queens, Staten Island, Brooklyn & Manhattan
Clark S, Horton R. Low back pain: a major global challenge. Lancet. 2018;391(10137):2302. Accessed August 30, 2018.