Treating low back pain

WHAT DO I LOOK FOR WHEN TREATING LOW BACK PAIN? 4/10/16

Low back pain is very common in today’s society. Most people have dealt with low back pain themselves or at least know multiple people with low back pain. It can be very debilitating and life changing, especially if the pain does not go away. Treatment for low back pain in physical therapy is usually mediocre at best due to the difficulty in being able to properly diagnose where the pain is being generated. Pain can come from the discs, nerve roots, facet joints, and abnormal muscle use. Having a good understanding of how the spine moves and functions, and how abnormal spinal movement affects the body is key to successful treatment in physical therapy.

What do I look at when evaluating a low back? I look for specific weakness in the glute max and med muscles. They are very important in lumbar spine and pelvic stability. The hip flexors are often times very tight, therefore specific manual therapy releases have to be performed along with stretching. Transversus abdominal and deep low back muscle called the multifidus also need to be retrained appropriately. I also look at very specific movement of the individual lumbar spine vertebrae, thoracic vertebrae, and sacrum. If the vertebral segments are not moving the way they should, osteopathic manipulation is performed to help correct the movement. I use a lot of osteopathic manipulation (OMT) called muscle energy techniques (MET). Uncorrected vertebrae will cause muscles to shut down and not do their job. This is where the skill of a movement expert and manual therapist comes into play to be able to find and correct the abnormal spine movement or lack of movement. The abnormal spine movement is called a somatic dysfunction which will be discussed in another blog. Using those basic guidelines is how I have been able to be very successful in fixing low back pain be it chronic or acute. Acute low back pain is much easier to fix with usually only needing 1-2 treatments over a 2-4 week period. Chronic low back pain is more difficult to fix but can usually be done over a 6 week period and a total of 4-6 visits. Come give physical therapy at Wright Physiotherapy a try and you will be amazed at your new pain-free way of life! Go to the contact page and send me an email to schedule an appointment or give me a call.