How physical therapy can help you overcome neck and back pain
It may surprise some to learn that many of those who contact Laser Spine Institute for back surgery become back pain free without the need for surgery at all. Physical therapy may be associated with recovery and rehabilitation, but it can also effectively improve mobility, reduce pain, and increase quality of life without surgery. The dedicated Patient Services team at Laser Spine Institute use their wealth of experience in physical therapy to prevent the need for back surgery wherever possible, as well as to help others recover from surgery should it prove necessary.
Physical therapy for neck and back pain is a conservative treatment designed to help patients regain mobility and function lost through injury, trauma, and wear and tear. There are many different approaches to physical therapy, including using the treatment for targeted strengthening and conditioning to overcome neck and back pain without surgery. Flexibility exercises and stretches are incorporated to maintain balance while restoring spinal stability and this may, in turn, reduce reliance on pain medications and anti-inflammatories. Physical therapy can also help reduce the risk of future injuries by increasing strength and stability and helping patients learn proper posture when lifting or exercising.
The intensity of physical therapy and the types of exercises undertaken will vary according to the individual needs of a patient. This means that patients should ensure that they work closely with a therapist to devise an appropriate program for their condition. Most therapists work by gradually increasing the intensity of physical therapy to build strength slowly and avoid injury. This may be combined with epidural steroid injections or increased pain medications to reduce inflammation and pain and allow patients more range of motion to free trapped nerves and condition muscles. Over time a patient may then be able to continue physical therapy at home and know what to do should pain reoccur so as to reduce the likelihood of back problems requiring surgery.
The success of an operation on the spine hinges on the effectiveness of the rehabilitation period, and physical therapy plays a major role in the outcome of surgery. Major open back surgery may require months of intensive physical therapy for patients in order to regain function initially lost through surgery, or mobility lost to a longstanding spine condition. Those having a minimally invasive procedure at Laser Spine Institute often find that a small number of sessions with a physical therapist are sufficient to help them quickly regain mobility and function. As minimally invasive surgery does not involve the severance of any muscles there is no need for retraining of the body to compensate for this kind of acute weakness and muscle trauma, meaning that recovery is faster and physical therapy is generally more comfortable and effective.
Physical therapy for neck and back pain may take the form of aqua/hydrotherapy, massage therapy, heat and cold treatment, McKenzie therapy, and a variety of other stabilization and rehabilitation techniques. Persistent back pain that does not respond to physical therapy may, however, warrant back surgery and it is important that patients uncover the cause of their pain before engaging in physical therapy. Where herniated discs, bone spurs, or other spine conditions are present and severe it may be that physical therapy in conjunction with a minimally invasive spine procedure at Laser Spine Institute offers the best chance for a patient to become back pain free. Contact our team today, or discuss the use of physical therapy with your physician and see if your back pain can become a thing of the past.