Eighty percent of Americans will complain of lower back pain at some point in their lives. In some cases, lower back pain resolves on its own without treatment. However, in some cases low back pain can linger for weeks, months, and even years.
The symptoms of lower back pain vary widely. The pain may be dull, burning, or sharp. The pain might be isolated to a pinpoint location or distributed over a larger area. Sometimes, the pain might radiate down one leg or the other. There are three types of lower back pain
- Acute - pain lasting less than 3-months.
- Recurrent - pain that comes and goes.
- Chronic - pain lasting more than 3-months.
Degenerative disc disease, herniated disks, spinal stenosis, and osteoarthritis are common x-ray and MRI findings that may concern people who suffer from low back pain. However, research has shown these findings are present in people without low back pain as well. Therefore, imaging should always be considered with a grain of salt.
In most cases, lower back pain can be effectively managed with physical therapy. Only cases where there is a loss of bowel or bladder control and/or numbness in the groin or inner thigh warrant serious medical and surgical intervention.
When it comes to overcoming back pain, the first common-sense recommendation is to take a short break from activity that aggravates your back. This allows irritated bone, muscle, and nerve tissue to settle down. If pain persists, hands-on therapy can be effective to alleviate pain more quickly. As the pain subsides, you can work on the root and contributing causes of your low back pain.
If you have low back pain, you may also feel tight in your hips, low back, and upper back. You may also have weakness in your core, lower back, hip, and buttock muscles. If addition if you have difficulty generating tension and maintaining good technique, exercising may make your back pain worse. The best way to know what is contributing to your back pain is to have an assessment performed.
If you have weakness, learning how to activate muscles that are not firing well is key. Common exercises that we begin with include the bridge with adduction and hip hurdle. Depending on why the back is flared up, spinal flexion (angry cat, prone hollow) OR extension (press-up, superman) exercises may also be called upon.
Once pain is controlled and muscles engage better, the next step is developing strength. Learning how to create tension and maintain technique for exercises like the deadlift and other hinge variations now have their place. Most of the aforementioned exercises can be found in our video library.
When addressed with a specialized physical therapy program, overcoming low back pain is possible. However, ignoring pain may only prolong suffering. If you have concerns about low back pain, the physical therapists at Movement Solutions would be glad to be a resource for you.
We have a free guide on relieving back pain that can give you further insight into back problems and help kickstart your recovery. We are available for a free 15-minute phone consultation to talk about how your pain is affecting you and discuss your treatment options.
If you’re considering physical therapy, each month we offer 14 back pain consultations. This is an opportunity to ask questions, obtain clarity about your back pain, and foster confidence that we can help you. If you want help with your back problem, request your consultation today.
If you’re in pain and unsure about what your next steps should be, call us at (864) 558-7346 and ask how we can help.