When individuals stop working on their back pain therapy, the pain can come back. Don’t give up on the process and trust the therapists/providers. Many people experience their first episode of low back pain between the ages of 20 and 40. Often they are not sure what caused their back problems. There are a variety of factors that could be contributors like:
- Old running shoes
- A heavy box that was inappropriately lifted and carried
- Exercise strain
- Too much sitting
- Poor posture
- Work injury
- Personal injury
- Sports injury
After some time with the pain, a visit to the doctor is in order, hoping for clear answers and strong medicine. A diagnosis of non-specific back pain and a prescription for physical therapy is given. This is because doctors are now required to prescribe non-medication, non-invasive therapeutic approaches for any type of pain first. After three to four weeks of physical therapy, and there is still no improvement or signs of improvement will a doctor recommend medication/s and/or surgery.
Nonspecific back pain describes back pain that is not associated with a clear cause like:
- Inflammatory arthritis
- Structural deformity
Non-specific back pain is very common and often acute, meaning the symptoms usually go away on their own within a month. Physical therapy also known as PT can help expedite the healing process. Physical therapy can improve a variety of back-related problems, including those caused by disease and structural abnormalities. A study found that physical therapy works as well as surgery for lumbar spinal stenosis or the narrowing of the spinal canal in the low back.
Don’t Give Up On The Program
Unfortunately, many individuals do not follow through with the full course of physical therapy. Reasons include:
- Low level of physical activity before treatment
- Poor social support
- Increased pain during exercise
The problem with stopping physical therapy is that individuals can end up right where they began. Not following a treatment plan can have negative effects on outcomes and healthcare costs. Progress depends on how much follow-through an individual does on their own. Don’t give up on the program and maintain rehabilitative progress.
Scientifically Backed Benefits
Scientific proof means measuring results objectively to determine if a treatment works. Physical therapy has consistently proven to be highly effective. Researchers found that physical therapy led to positive health benefits when treating back pain. Specifically, individuals that followed a physical therapy program to the end had:
- Less physical therapy visits
- Their length of care was shorter
- Prescription medications were used far less
- Fewer visits to the doctor
- Advanced imaging is used less
- Cost savings
For example, spine stabilization exercises during an episode of low back pain can decrease pain, disability, and the risk of another episode.
The Right Physical Therapy Clinic
Do research to find the best therapeutic clinic or professional. It is perfectly understandable to be picky about physical therapy. Several studies have shown that a healthy relationship between patients and physical therapists improves outcomes. When choosing a clinic, individuals should be aware that there are different models. The differences can influence the experience.
- Some therapists treat more than one person at a time. This means the exercises will be shown how to do them properly, then the individual will be expected to continue on their own with the therapist returning to see the progress and start the next exercise.
- Some therapists see the patient once, then an assistant takes over. Assistants will help with the exercise programs.
- There are some clinics that could be out of network or do not accept insurance. Individuals can pay more, but the benefit is more one-on-one time/care with a physical therapist.
- If an individual does not like the experience with one model, try another.
- Remember that individuals need to advocate for their own health, treatment, and progress.
- If an individual is not improving, then they need to have a discussion with the physical therapist.
- The therapist can then problem solve and try a new treatment or refer the patient for additional care like imaging, medications, or a different intervention altogether. Don’t give up, relief from back pain is possible.
Don’t Give Up On Body Health
Body composition analysis an effective tool during physical therapy
Body composition is essential for understanding physiological makeup and to help guide a treatment plan to target specific areas in physical therapy programs. InBody analysis is non-invasive and convenient, making it ideal when used in conjunction with physical therapy rehabilitation programs. The InBody test provides results that can be used to educate and engage individuals to help track improvements throughout the physical therapy course. In less than 60 seconds, the test results are easy-to-understand, accurate, and objective. This helps to evaluate and monitor progress during rehabilitation. With the test a physical therapist can:
- Assess muscle distribution
- Focus on areas weakened by injury or surgery
- Identify fluid imbalances related to inflammation
- Monitor changes to determine the efficacy of the therapy program
- Guide recommendations for long-term success
- Don’t give up!
Dr. Alex Jimenez’s Blog Post Disclaimer
The scope of our information is limited to chiropractic, musculoskeletal, physical medicines, wellness, and sensitive health issues and/or functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions. We use functional health & wellness protocols to treat and support care for injuries or disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Our posts, topics, subjects, and insights cover clinical matters, issues, and topics that relate and support directly or indirectly our clinical scope of practice.*
Our office has made a reasonable attempt to provide supportive citations and has identified the relevant research study or studies supporting our posts. We also make copies of supporting research studies available to the board and or the public upon request. We understand that we cover matters that require an additional explanation as to how it may assist in a particular care plan or treatment protocol; therefore, to further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to ask Dr. Alex Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900. The provider(s) Licensed in Texas& New Mexico*
PLOS One. (Jun 2016) “The Influence of Physical Therapy Guideline Adherence on Healthcare Utilization and Costs among Patients with Low Back Pain: A Systematic Review of the Literature.” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27285608/
Pain and Therapy. (Jan 2020) “Rehabilitation for Low Back Pain: A Narrative Review for Managing Pain and Improving Function in Acute and Chronic Conditions.” https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s40122-020-00149-5
Spine. (Apr 2012) “Management Patterns in Acute Low Back Pain: the Role of Physical Therapy.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3062937/