Back pain is one of the most common causes for physician visits. Your back, comprised of the thoracic spine (middle spine), lumbar spine (low spine), and numerous muscles, tendons and ligaments is the central structure of your body responsible for providing support for basic functions like standing up to complex actions like lifting something over your head. Because of this, as many as 80% of Americans experience back pain, the most common being low back pain and sciatica.
Most injuries to the low back are caused by strains. A strain of the back occurs when you injure one or more muscles of the back. This differs from a sprain, which you might often hear with an ankle injury, because a sprain involves ligaments, the tissue that connects bone to another bone, rather than muscles. A back strain most often happens when lifting while bending or twisting the spine. Pain from a strain is the result of your muscle being stretched or torn and even though this is usually local pain, in one specific area, it can be quite debilitating for some people.
Sciatica, on the other hand, is a condition that involves the sciatic nerve. When this nerve becomes irritated, through spinal compression or inflammation, the result can be sharp, intense pain that radiates from the low back, through the buttocks to the legs and some patients may even endure numbness down to their feet.
Your All Star Physical Therapist will complete a thorough evaluation, which may include examining your spine, hips and legs to determine the cause of your back pain. The goal of physical therapy will be to reduce inflammation while increasing range of motion, strength and mobility. Through specialized hands-on techniques, stretching, and strength building your therapist will build a comprehensive treatment plan to quickly reduce pain and eliminate your symptoms long term. This plan may also include heat, ice, ultrasound and electric stimulation which help reduce inflammation and relieve pain. While back pain is common and reoccurring for many, physical therapy is proven to be one of the most effective ways to stop your pain from returning.