Updated: Dec 7, 2020
Over 80% of people will experience back pain in some form throughout their lifetime with many not seeking medical attention. There are numerous causes of back pain including heavy lifting, sudden movements, muscle strain, disturbed vertebrae and poor posture. When back pain occurs it’s common that sufferers will rest until they are fully recovered, however numerous physical therapy techniques could be utilised to reduce pain and increase the rate at which the injury heals. In general, the goals of physical therapy are to decrease pain, increase function, and provide education on a maintenance program to prevent further recurrences.
Most healthcare providers are recognizing massage therapy as a legitimate aid for lower back pain and an effective adjunct to lower back treatments. According to the American Massage Therapy Association, research shows that massage therapy provides several important health benefits, including increased blood circulation allowing for the injured tissue to heal quicker, muscle relaxation, improved range of motion within the soft tissue and increased endorphin levels which acts as an analgesic.
Mobilisation are manual therapy techniques used by physios in order to improve the mobility and function of your soft tissues, joints, muscles, tendons and ligaments. Mobilisations are a commonly used technique that has shown to be effective at reducing pain in patients with back pain. The theory behind spinal mobilization for back pain is that it can decrease joint stiffness and reposition joints that are slightly off-center allowing for better function and therefore reduced pain within the patient.
Core strengthening exercises
The core and lower back muscles all work in unison to provide stability to the spine meaning any abnormalities or weakness may be the cause of pain in the back. There are specific exercises to strengthen the abdominal muscles and lower back muscles to provide better stability and strength resulting in a reduced chance of re-injury and an increased function within individuals.
Finally, the use of education and understanding within clients can lead to a reduction in re-injury and better management of pain. Understanding how certain movements patterns can be utilised to gain relief from symptoms can help clients get back to completing normal activities and allow for quicker recovery. Therapists can also educate clients about correct techniques for things such as lifting, exercises and posture meaning they will be better protected against future injury.
A therapist has multiple tools at their disposal to help manage and treat back pain within clients. Using the techniques listed above a therapist will be able to improve the rate at which the injury takes to heal and help reduce the amount of pain within the client. Physical therapy will also reduce the recurrence rate of injury to the back by improving function, stability and strength.