When suffering from back pain, a back pain doctor in Austin, TX, knows that physical therapy is one of the best forms of relief for your back pain. It is one of the best natural ways to obtain relief from back pain without harsh drugs or other risky treatment options. If you feel pain in your back, you should see whether physical therapy can help you. Many people think that back pain can only be relieved by severe measures, whether surgery or prescribed medication. However, even chronic back pain can be relieved using more natural remedies, including treatments like chiropractic care, physical therapy, and dry needling. Trying natural forms of treatment before traditional, riskier forms of medicine has many benefits. Starting with natural treatment methods can help you avoid treatments that can be costly and can even make your condition worse. Riskier procedures like medications and surgery are not guaranteed to eliminate your pain. If you are interested in learning more about these options to help relieve your back pain, contact Austin Physical Therapy for more information.
What Is Physical Therapy?
Physical therapy is a healthcare discipline that focuses on movement and improving the body’s functions. It focuses on correcting dysfunction and disorders in the body through treatments such as stretches, exercises, targeted adjustments, and other therapies. Physical therapists are trained to recognize disorders that inhibit a person’s mobility and body functions. They can help patients manage pain, recover from injuries, improve their flexibility and maintain their health. When movement and flexibility are restricted, it can inhibit a person’s ability to walk, run, bend, and do everyday tasks. There are many ways that a physical therapist can treat patients who are suffering from pain, soreness, and other symptoms. Suppose you are suffering from pain anywhere in your body or have issues like stiffness, muscle tightness, limited range of motion, and other problems. In that case, a physical therapist can develop a treatment plan that is designed for your specific condition.
How Can Physical Therapy Help Your Lower Back Pain?
You may be wondering: what can an Austin, Texas back pain doctor do for me? Your doctor will help guide you through the different types of physical therapy movements that you can do at the office, and that will be safe to do on your own at home. No matter where you are, you can do simple stretches to improve your mobility, flexibility, and relieve pain. Doing these exercises daily can address the symptoms you are experiencing. Benefits to incorporating active stretching in your daily life. Regardless of whether you have a sedentary lifestyle or are physically active, physical therapy stretches and exercises can help your body stay flexible and improve your mobility. They also serve to facilitate recovery more quickly. Stretching often has several benefits. Stretching can help:
- Increase flexibility. Through physical therapy exercises, you can make your body more flexible and decrease joint pain.
- Increase your back’s mobility and range of motion. The spine can feel stiff, especially if you have a sedentary lifestyle, but stretches can improve movement in your back.
- Strengthen muscles. In addition to gentle stretches, a core part of physical therapy are strengthening exercises that incorporate light to moderate weights.
- Help to relax muscles that are too tight. If you have tightness in your shoulders and back, physical therapy can help relieve tension in your muscles and sooth them.
Another benefit of stretching is that it helps prevent injuries such as strains in your back and other body areas. If muscles are not stretched properly, such as during a warmup or post-workout, it can make your body more vulnerable. If there is too much tension in your body, the tension can eventually lead to a sudden injury, such as a pulled muscle. This can happen even after a basic movement, such as picking something up or reaching for an object. Daily stretches keep your body limber and reduce chronic stiffness, so make sure to make them a regular part of your routine. Stretches also make you feel good and help you to move more easily, allowing you to more easily do your physical tasks. When done correctly, physical therapy exercises can be exactly what you need to help strengthen your back and get rid of the pain you have been dealing with.
What’s the first step?
The first step is to understand what is causing your back pain. Back pain can be caused by many things, so a diagnosis is not always straightforward. Your doctor will not want to simply trial and error a pain management program. They will not blindly try various treatment options. They will take the time to learn about your condition in-depth and exactly what symptoms you are experiencing before determining treatment. Instead, they will want to consult with you to learn about your medical history and learn what may have caused the back pain in the first place. They will see if your back pain is caused by a medical condition or a recent injury. In some instances, you may need to have some type of x-ray imaging done before a treatment plan can begin. The physical therapist will do a series of tests to make sure that they have complete information before deciding on a treatment plan.
After the physical evaluation, a physical therapist will diagnose your condition. Initial treatment for mild pain will usually begin with a few exercises. They will give you a series of at-home treatments that you can do. These exercises will be basic exercises that will not force you to exert yourself. The physical therapist will not start you off with exercises that are too difficult or will worsen your condition. Once you strengthen your body after several weeks of doing the exercises, they will do a progress report to see if your condition has improved or not. They will adjust your treatment plan or discharge you from physical therapy if your current exercises have been showing a significant improvement. You may have to do the exercises for several months to see progress, so be patient and do not expect results right away.
Can I Just Learn Movements On My Own At Home?
Although a trained physical therapist will be able to give you techniques that you can use at home, you will not want to try movements without consulting your doctor. Attempting any kind of self-diagnosis is dangerous, and you could suffer an injury or make your condition worse. A doctor has the professional experience to conduct a thorough physical evaluation and develop a safe treatment program for you. Your doctor will need to pinpoint precisely what is wrong with your back so that you do not end up harming yourself even more by using online treatments that are not specific to your needs.
When you are experiencing back pain, you know you can turn to the trusted group at Austin Physical Therapy. Our team is here to help you get to the bottom of your back pain so that you can start living your life again. Back pain that has persisted for several weeks or seems to get worse should not be ignored. Have a doctor make a diagnosis so that they can develop a treatment plan to eliminate your pain. Contact our back pain doctor in Austin, Texas, to learn more today!
Do I Need to Do At-Home Exercises?
At-home exercises are usually the first treatment that a physical therapist may recommend for your back pain. If a physical therapist shows you exercise as part of your treatment plan, you need to do them daily if you hope to experience results. You must follow the complete instructions that the physical therapist gives to you. Follow every part of the treatment plan. If you do not abide by the specific instructions and do the exercises accordingly, you may not expect to receive the results you are looking for. You could also suffer an injury if you ignore the instructions or attempt to do the injuries in a different way. The exercises will not be as effective at improving your condition if you do not follow them correctly. It is okay if you skip a day occasionally during your plan, but make sure to do back exercises as much as possible. Having proper form during your exercises and doing them consistently will lead better to results. If you have any questions about how to do the exercises correctly, reach out to the physical therapist so that they can give you an explanation.
Why Visit A Doctor For Back Pain?
Why an Austin, TX, back pain doctor? Because back pain occurs extremely frequently: Almost 80% of individuals experience back pain at some point in their lives! However, this also means that we at Austin Physical Therapy have cared for many back pain patients, giving us the experience needed to help others with back pain. How do we help? Continue reading to find out.
Even if you are not currently suffering from back pain, because of how prevalent it is, essentially everyone should perform exercises that can help prevent the onset of a back condition and avoid the pain that comes with it. To do this, we recommend scheduling an appointment with a physical therapist near you. With as few as one or two physical therapy sessions, you can learn which exercises are best for you to do in attempt to prevent back pain in the future.
Because your spine is connected with multiple bones, one vertebra can easily affect other vertebrae. For this reason, there are countless reasons why an individual could be suffering from back pain. The root cause could be spinal, muscular, or even systemic (e.g., metabolic or nervous system). It is best to take a holistic approach when addressing back pain. All cards are on the table, and a back pain doctor in Austin, TX, will not rule anything out as the cause of the back pain until further inspection.
How you move and position yourself throughout each day has a significant impact on developing your posture and, consequently, back pain. Often, a person does not realize the habits they are forming while at work, performing household chores, taking care of children, or even sitting on the couch watching TV. These physical habits can profoundly influence the health of your spine. By making simple alterations to how you move or position your body, you can potentially save yourself from years of back pain in the future.
Mobility & Strength
The back should be treated as one system. As such, even if your back pain is located in the lumbar (low) spine, it is almost always beneficial to also improve the function of the thoracic (middle) and even cervical (neck) spine. The natural lordosis, or curve, of each spinal segment, should be preserved as best as possible. As the years go by, the back may become stiffer and weaker. By performing stretches, increasing the spine’s mobility, and strengthening the muscles around the spine, you can make significant contributions to your health and wellbeing. Keep in mind that while performing these stretches and exercises, it is critically important to do them correctly. Otherwise, you can do more damage than good to your back. To receive a personalized routine that will allow you to safely help mobilize and strengthen your back, schedule an appointment with a back pain doctor in Austin, TX, at Austin Physical Therapy today.
Common Lifestyle Factors that Lead to Back Pain
Many working adults find themselves sitting relatively still at a desk for eight or more hours per day. Sitting still for extended periods is unhealthy for the back and spine. Many patients return home for more sitting and only repeat the cycle four or five more times a week. A sedentary lifestyle is a major contributing factor for those experiencing back pain. Sitting for extended periods puts pressure on the spine, leading to herniated discs, pinched nerves, and bulges. Sitting weakens the muscles that would typically support the spine and help prevent such things from causing pain.
A lack of exercise and physical activity can contribute to back pain. Regular exercise keeps your spine flexible and your muscles strong, supporting your spine and preventing some causes of back pain. Even gentle forms of exercise – such as yoga, swimming, and walking – can help you reduce back pain.
Being overweight adds additional stress and strain on the body’s joints. The excess weight of the extra load on the joints directly increases the likelihood of experiencing back pain. By maintaining a healthy weight, the strain on your joints and back is lessened, and the possibility of debilitating back pain is decreased drastically.
Certain occupations involve:
- Heavy and frequent lifting.
- Repetitive motions.
- Other strain-inducing motions can contribute to a person experiencing back pain.
Also, the absence of movement presents a hazard; for example, standing or sitting still for long periods can lead to a person experiencing back pain that stems from compression of the spine and weakening of muscles that support the back.
Habitual slouching while sitting at a desk or home while reading or on your devices are postural conditions that contribute to the likelihood of back pain. Ergonomics in your workstation or reading chair can help promote good posture and decrease the risk of experiencing back pain by reducing strain on your spine, neck, and limbs. The importance of good ergonomics cannot be stressed enough in your work life.
Smokers are more likely to have chronic back pain compared to non-smokers. Smoking also increases your risk for osteoporosis, slower healing, and degeneration diseases. All of these conditions can lead to more pain.
Improper Lifting Techniques
When you lift, do not lift with your back. Also, do not lift objects that weigh too much. Know your limits. When you do have to lift objects, use the power of your legs and keep the weight close to your body.
A back pain doctor will likely advise you of ways to mitigate these causes of back pain and ultimately get back on track to a life with less pain and more enjoyment of the activities you love doing. If you experience chronic back pain, get in touch with a back pain doctor. They will help create a strategy for helping relieve your pain through changes in your lifestyle and other strengthening exercises and therapies.
Tips for Managing Back Pain
A back pain doctor in Austin, TX, can share that back pain can cause challenges and be debilitating for a person, impacting their daily lives and making it challenging to conduct the most mundane tasks. Many factors contribute to back pain, such as injuries, lifestyle habits, and poor posture, to name a few. Working with the practitioners at Austin Physical Therapy can be advantageous as they can carefully evaluate the condition and determine a course of treatment that could include:
- Manual Therapies
- Stretches and Exercises for Home
- Dry Needling
- Total Spinal Fitness
While treatments can significantly reduce pain, improve range of motion, and support the healing process, it’s important to note that patients must be fully committed to their recovery to receive the best possible recovery from ailments. Because of this, our doctors will likely recommend a treatment plan that could include stretches and exercises that patients should complete at home. When you work closely with a professional who specializes in back pain, they will work with patients by administering treatments to relieve pain and assist with healing. Still, they will also teach stretches and exercises to help manage pain and strengthen the affected area. Here are some tips that may assist with healing back pain depending upon your condition:
Stretching to Alleviate Back Pain
Daily stretching can play a positive role in a person’s life as it can help alleviate tension and keep the muscles flexible. Stretching can also help to improve the body’s range of motion which will be critical for those who have spent extended periods living a sedentary lifestyle or in bed recovering from injuries. Our Austin, Texas back pain doctor can share that there are several common stretches for back pain that include:
- Cat-Cow Position
- Forward Fold
- Toe Touches
- Saddle Fold
- Spinal Twist
- Child’s Pose
- Holding Your Knees to Chest
Foam Rolling For Back Pain
Foam rolling is an excellent way to manage back pain because it uses the myofascial release technique. Myofascial release targets the affected area while also working with the greater network of muscles throughout the body. Rather than targeting one area of the body, myofascial release releases tension points that may be causing pain and tension. A foam roller is a cylinder-shaped device that allows a person to apply light pressure and roll over certain parts of the body, effectively reducing knots and improving mobility.
Exercising For Back Pain
Exercising for back pain may seem counterintuitive after an injury or prolonged chronic pain. However, engaging in low-impact exercises can help strengthen the back, and the core, reduce tension, and keep the tendons and ligaments flexible, thus improving the range of motion. Exercise doesn’t have to be a tedious task. In fact, there are simple, accessible ways to exercise that require little skill or cost, such as walking, yoga, biking, or light aerobic exercise.
It’s a common misconception that extended rest times are effective for pain sufferers to manage their back pain. The reality is that staying in bed for extended periods or long-term bed rest can prolong a patient’s recovery, causing it to stall. The sooner prospective patients meet with our Austin, TX, back pain doctor from Austin Physical Therapy; the sooner patients can return to their normal activity levels.