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Can we trust physical therapy for back pain relief? Physical therapy is a step by step process through which you get back the strength of your lower back muscles, bone and spine joints and the lumbar disc. Not to forget a weak or injured disc can’t hold the vertebrae properly, which in turn can cause lower back discomfort or pain originating from the pinched sciatic nerve. The natural aging process or an injury can cause this condition.
After evaluating your back problem, the professionals will decide what type of physical therapy treatment is ideal for you. You’ll be asked to appear for the prescribed sessions and follow the instructions of the therapists. To be exact, there are basically two types of physical therapy processes that are in practice nowadays.
1. The Passive Physical Therapy:
Some therapists employ modalities to reduce the intensity of the back pain. Passive modalities are actually referred to the application of ice, heat and electricity to bring the pain down to a manageable level. We’ll now talk about each of them quickly –
a) Ice Therapy:
Ice or cold therapy helps to reduce lower back pain originating from a sudden back injury. The application of ice on the point of discomfort is useful for controlling muscle or nerve inflammation. You’ll get a relief within 20 minutes of applying the cold therapy to the lower back. Basically, ice helps to reduce the chances of nerve damage, slows down nerve impulses in the area of injury and numbs the sore tissue. Therapists sometimes do ice massage within 24 to 48 hours of back injury to control the pain.
b) Heat Therapy for Back Pain:
Overexertion can cause muscle spasm. When you apply heat therapy, it dilates the vessels of the lower back muscles, helps to increase the flow of oxygen and nutrient to the muscle, decreases transmission of the pain signal to your brain, helps to stretch the soft tissues, reduces muscle stiffness and increases flexibility. You can also take help from PMIR regarding pain management for fibromyalgia.
c) The Electrical Nerve Stimulation Process:
In this case, the electro thermal therapy is used to apply heat to the outer portion of the disc, alter the nerve fibers of the spinal disc and to destroy the pain receptors.
d) The Message Therapy:
Massage therapy helps to bring back the muscle flexibility, increase the amount of endorphin, which is a natural pain fighting brain chemical, reduce the stiffness of the bone joints and speed up the body’s natural recovery process.
During this therapy, a sound wave is applied to the point of discomfort. The sound wave heats up the area of injury, increases the flow of blood, oxygen and other nutrients to the affected zone and offers relaxation. So depending on your situation, a physical therapist may also prescribe this treatment.
2. The Active Physical Therapy:
It’s different from the passive therapy because a few specific types of body movements or exercises are advised to the patient in this case. For your information, the stability of the lumbar spine largely depends on the abdominal and lower back muscles. You need to do the exercises prescribed by the therapists to increase the power and strength of these muscles and increase the stability of the joints of the spine.
You have to do stretching, dynamic stabilization and core strengthening exercises for this purpose. The body muscles often shrink due to lack of use. The stretching exercises will help you to improve your muscle’s range of motion. Using exercise balls and balancing machines, a therapist helps to strengthen the secondary muscles of the spine. Specific exercises, like push ups, crunches, leg raises and Hyperextension also help to make the abdominal muscles strong. So, this is how you can use physical therapy for back pain relief.