Back pain affects more than 100 million Americans, resulting in $600 billion worth of medical costs and lost productivity, according to the study of the Institute of Medicine (IOM). Many Americans have gone to an orthopedist but not all have received sufficient pain relief. Furthermore, since an orthopedist corrects bone abnormalities or injuries through surgery or casting, some patients would like a less invasive approach. Due to the demand for non-invasive back pain treatment, a pain relief expert explains three common and effective non-surgical options.
If low back pain has persisted for two to six weeks, a physician may suggest physical therapy. Other spine specialists may even recommend physical therapy earlier for severe back pain. The main objectives of physical therapy are to reduce pain, improve function, and offer education regarding body maintenance to avoid further health problems.
Your physical therapy program may consist of two parts: passive physical therapy and active exercises. Passive physical therapy can include the use of transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulator (TENS) unit which applies electrical stimulation to manage low back pain by overriding the pain signals transmitted to the brain.
Another passive modality is ultrasound, a kind of deep heating wherein sound waves are used on the skin to penetrate soft tissues. Ultrasound can be particularly beneficial in allaying acute pain and may promote tissue healing. Wounds can heal three times faster with ultrasound, according to the research of the University of Sheffield scientists.
Active exercises are vital to rehabilitating the spine too. Active modalities usually include stretching exercises and core muscle strengthening under the guidance of a physical therapist.
Supervised exercises can also treat back pain problems. A supervised exercise program can be composed of strengthening, stretching, and motor control activities. Bronfort and other researchers assessed the effectiveness of supervised exercises and other modalities in treating chronic low back pain. Their findings showed that after 12 weeks of treatment using supervised exercises, participants reported satisfaction with the care due to reduced pain and physical improvement.
Spinal manipulation is one of the most effective non-surgical treatments for low back pain, based on the review of researchers from the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH). Spinal manipulation involves a traditional high-velocity low-amplitude thrust on the affected back joints which tends to create a popping sound. The direct benefits of spinal manipulation are moderate to significant pain relief as well as improved functional ability.
Before you visit an orthopedist, consult with a spine physician first who can offer non-surgical orthopedic procedures such as physical therapy, supervised exercises, and spinal manipulation. These non-invasive techniques can reduce tenderness of the joints and tissues and may just be the solution you need for chronic back pain.
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Physical Therapy Benefits For Back Pain, Spine-Health.com
Supervised exercise, spinal manipulation, and home exercise for chronic low back pain: a randomized clinical trial, NCBI.NLM.NIH.gov