Sadly, back pain is an incredibly common problem. According to the National Library of Medicine, roughly 80 percent of the population will be forced to deal with back pain at some point in their lives.
Some will be lucky; their bouts with back pain will be short.
Others will find themselves struggling with chronic pain that lingers.
Thankfully, physical therapy can be a useful tool for managing chronic back pain.
Acute Versus Chronic Pain
One of the ways that the medical community categorizes pain is duration.
Acute pain is discomfort that lasts for a brief period.
Chronic pain is more stubborn.
Some experts require pain to last for at least three months before considering it chronic.
Others set the deadline at six months.
Perhaps the simplest way to define chronic back pain is to say that it is persistent back pain that continues beyond the expected time for tissue healing.
Managing Pain With Physical Therapy
Physical therapy can be an effective way to reduce pain, improve function and educate patients about how they can protect their bodies from reoccurrences.
Passive physical therapy does not require active participation from the patient, but it can help decrease pain.
Examples of passive physical therapy modalities that may be recommended for people suffering from chronic back pain include transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, icing and heat therapy, ultrasound and iontophoresis.
Active physical therapy for chronic back pain generally involves targeted exercises that are intended to improve posture and rehabilitate the muscles that support the spine.
This type of program should encourage healing and help prevent future issues.
Most physical therapists suggest that patients dealing with chronic back pain complete a mix of stretches, strengthening exercises, and low-impact aerobic exercises.
Chronic back pain can range from mild to excruciating.
Making matters worse, the struggle to live with this type of pain can leave patients vulnerable to other potentially debilitating health issues like fatigue, insomnia, depression and anxiety.
Make an appointment today with one of our physical therapists, if you would like to know more about physical therapy and how it could help your chronic back pain.
[Photo Credit: Craig Sunter]