Back Pain Q & A

What might be causing my back pain?

Back pain has multiple possible causes, including conditions of your digestive system and kidneys. However, for the most part, it tends to be musculoskeletal — originating in your bones, discs, connective tissues, or nerves. Back pain is a common symptom of conditions like:

  • Muscle strains
  • Ligament sprains
  • Herniated discs
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Vertebral compression fractures
  • Spondylolisthesis
  • Sciatica
  • Pinched nerves

As well as pain, you might experience sensations like tingling, prickling, burning, numbness, and weakness. These often affect your arms and hands if you've got nerve damage in your neck, or your legs and feet if there's nerve compression in your lower back. Sciatica is a common example of this type of back problem.

How is back pain treated?

Back pain treatment typically involves activity modification, medication, and physical therapy. Other approaches include chiropractic manipulation, acupuncture, and the use of epidural steroid injections and nerve blocks.

Treatments for severe or persistent back pain might include more invasive approaches such as radiofrequency ablation and spinal cord stimulation. Some patients consider surgery when they're still getting no relief from their symptoms.

Physical therapy is a fundamental part of recovery from back pain alongside medication and other treatments. In fact, expert therapy as provided by the Riverwalk Physical Therapy team is often so effective that many patients don't need medication or painful injections and surgeries.

How does physical therapy help with back pain?

Riverwalk Physical Therapy, the team takes a distinctive approach to back pain. First, your provider listens, watches, and makes a detailed assessment; then they design a therapy plan personalized to your precise needs.

The team uses a variety of techniques suitable for treating your condition and takes into account other health problems you may have. Examples include:

  • Stretching and strengthening
  • Therapeutic ultrasound
  • Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)
  • Extension-based exercises
  • Manual therapy
  • Spinal decompression

One of the techniques widely used to treat back pain is the McKenzie method. This approach consists of exercises that you can do on your own as part of an overall program of assessment, prevention, and treatment. Using the McKenzie approach, your therapist can extend your spine and help move the pain away from your extremities (legs or arms) to your back, a process known as centralization. Most people can tolerate back pain more readily than leg or arm pain, and centralizing the pain enables your therapist to tackle the source rather than just the symptoms. If back pain is causing you problems, get expert help by calling Riverwalk Physical Therapy today, or book an appointment online.

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