Physical and Massage Therapy Associates
4000 Abermarle Street, NW
Washington, DC 20016
Lower Back Pain and Physical Therapy
Many people suffer from lower back pain, which can have a traumatic or non-traumatic origin. The cause of lower back pain varies and can include traffic accidents, chronic postural problems like lordosis or scoliosis, muscle imbalance, or structural pathology of the spine such as spondylosis, spondylolysis, spondylolisthesis, disc bulge, facet joint dysfunction, and sacroiliac joint dysfunction.
Most non-traumatic problems of the lumbar spine start with muscle imbalance due to monotonous overuse or underuse of one group of muscles. Overused muscles become extremely tight and underused muscles become very weak over time. These muscle groups are attached to the spine and pelvic bone at different angles. The combined effect of over tight and extremely weak muscle creates muscle imbalance which causes many problems.
At the beginning stages, only a slight tightness or dull aching pain is occasionally felt in the lower back and our busy lifestyles prevent us from doing all that we can for it. We just want to get rid of the pain, get back to our routine and fail to address the real problem. We seek immediate relief in the form of painkillers. It’s very important to realize that painkillers only prevent us from feeling pain; they do nothing to eliminate the cause of the pain. That does not mean that taking painkillers is not a good idea. We have all the right to feel good. However, we should do more than feel better; we really need to get better.
It is very important to start working on a problem before it gets worse. Simple things, like body mechanics, can really make a difference. Sitting posture, computer arrangement, kitchen arrangement, the way you lift things, the way you move around, the way you sleep and many other occupation related activities can lead to lower back problems.
Your physical therapist can help you restore lower back muscle balance with various modalities such as electrical stimulation, manual therapy/massage therapy, joint mobilization techniques, ultrasound, therapeutic exercises, neuromuscular reeducation and more. If the problem is not severe, then all you might be required to do are home exercise programs designed by your physical therapist.
The person who can help you most in this world is yourself. You need to be very proactive, become aware of potential problems and carefully choose the right physical therapist. Your lifestyle will be restored and you can prevent your lower back pain from getting worse. Please remember, simple and natural treatments do have limitations and can’t “cure” all conditions. If your ignore you condition and it worsens, then your only option may be surgery.
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