Lower back pain is one of the most common musculoskeletal disorders that affect 80% of people at a particular point in their lives. It is also the most common cause of job-related disability in the United States. Its duration can either be acute (less than 4 weeks), sub-acute (4–12 weeks) or chronic (more than 12 weeks).
There are many causes for lower back pain, which vary from non-alarming to causes that are more serious. Therefore, a thorough examination and assessment from a physician should be done primarily to determine the underlying cause of the lower back pain.
However, here are its most common causes: lumbar strain, nerve irritation, lumbar radiculopathy, bone, and joint condition. Lumbar strain is an injury to the ligaments, tendons or muscles of the lower back. Lumbar strain is considered one of the most frequent causes of lower back pain since the injury usually occur because of overuse, improper use, or trauma at the lower back. Nerve irritation happens when the nerves of the spine are irritated usually due to mechanical pressure or from a disease anywhere along their path. These conditions include lumbar disc disease, bony encroachment and inflammation of the nerves caused by a viral infection. Lumbar radiculopathy is a nerve irritation that is mainly caused by injury to the discs between the vertebrae. This injury occurs due to either degeneration of the outer ring of the disc, traumatic injury, or both. Bone and joint condition that result to lower back pain include those with existing congenital conditions such as scoliosis and spina bifida, those that result from degeneration or injury such as fractures and those that are due to inflammation of the joints such as arthritis.
Physical Therapy for Lower Back Pain
Lower back pain is one of the most prevalent job disabilities around the world that affects almost everyone at a particular point in their lifetime. Upon diagnosis of any medical condition that has brought about the pain in the lower back, the physician would most likely propose physical therapy for lower back pain upon rehabilitation. This therapy is normally facilitated by a physical therapist, a member of the health care team specifically trained to assist and guide the patients in their therapies. A study revealed that those who planned their own exercise program did worse than those in physical therapy or doctor-directed programs. In fact, wrong movements or long-term high-impact exercises are often one of the causes of back pain in the first place.
Upon first encounter, people would initially think that physical therapy is quite easy, but in contrast, many patients actually find it a challenging part of medical rehabilitation. Physical therapy for lower back pain does not only constitute a set of exercises but it also involves discipline to follow the regimen and progress to a better condition physically and reduce the pain felt at the lower back.
Why is physical therapy for lower back pain important? It is vital for a patient experiencing lower back pain to do the programs prepared by the physical therapist simply because it brings about many advantages to the patient. The primary goals of physical therapy for lower back pain and back pain exercises are to reduce back pain, improve function, and make education available on a maintenance program to prevent further recurrences. Aside from the benefits that it offers toward those with a medical condition already, it can also act as a form of prevention toward those who have not yet suffered from lower back pain. Everyone would surely agree that prevention is and will always be better than cure.
One of the programs readily available for patients is Lumbar Stabilization Program. This is a program of back exercises intended to educate patients how to do strengthening and flexibility exercises in a pain-free range. This exercise does not only improve the patient’s physical condition and symptoms but also helps the patient with proficient movement. It provides the patient with movement awareness, information of secure postures, and functional strength and coordination that promotes management of lower back pain.
However, aside from simply doing the exercises, people should put to mind the need to be cautious while doing these exercises. There are also exercises that a person with lower back pain should not perform. Always remember that these people should not perform exercises that require bending over right after getting up in the morning, because during this time, the disks are more fluid-filled and more vulnerable to pressure from this movement. However, the most important thing to remember is that exercises are not as easy as one think it is. People are trained and educated toward doing specific exercises that is appropriate to every individual. If the exercise is not fit to the one doing it, there is a risk of complicating the condition instead of curing it. Do not forget, it does not hurt to consult with an expert first.
The prognosis for lower back pain mainly varies from its accurate cause. If the cause is acute strain injury, it usually heals entirely with minor treatment. On the other hand, bony abnormalities that are irritating the spinal cord may require important surgical procedure where the outlook then depends on the result of the surgery. Ultimately, long-term most favorable results usually involve exercise rehabilitation programs that may involve physical therapists. Lower back pain is indeed very common, but it should not be taken lightly. Early detection and prevention will stop further complication in comparison to a more complicated situation where treatment that is more extensive would be needed.