By Kevin Melrick Serrano, geriatric physical therapist, Northern Dutchess Hospital
Lower back or lumbar pain is one of the top reasons people see a doctor and call out sick from work, according to the National Library of Medicine. If you are one of the 8 in 10 Americans the library of medicine says will experience some type of lower back pain in your life, physical therapy may be able to help you.
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How physical therapy helps
Here are four benefits of physical therapy for lower back pain:
- Find the problem. Physical therapists will assess your movement and body posture from head to toe. Whether you have a slipped disc, pulled muscle, spasms or neck pain, they aim to learn the root causes of your discomfort. Once the therapist knows why you have pain, they can provide a plan of care to reduce pain.
- Move better and ease stiffness. If you have weak back muscles, the therapist will teach you the best exercises to strengthen them. If your muscles are tight, they will teach you safe techniques to stretch and protect against pain from stiffness.
- Improve your activities. Building your overall function will make you more active. The more stable and agile you are, the less likely you will end up falling, which physical therapists always watch out for. Safety first!
- Avoid surgery. You may have thought of surgery for your back pain, but a physical therapy consultation will provide you with key information on how you can be treated conservatively. You may want to consider trying therapy before surgery.
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What causes lower back pain?
There are plenty of factors that can cause back pain, including pregnancy and childbirth, aging and normal wear and tear.
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It can also come on suddenly. One bad lift or a wrong twist can lead to sharp, debilitating pain. Or a tragic accident, such as a slip off of a ladder or trip down the stairs, can lead to a long road of back problems.
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The bottom line: You don’t have to be in pain. Physical therapists are here to help you understand what’s causing your discomfort and provide individualized advice to help you do the activities you enjoy.
Kevin Melrick Serrano is a licensed physical therapist at Northern Dutchess Hospital in Rhinebeck, NY. He specializes in geriatric physical therapy for older adults. Request an appointment.