By Doctor of Physical Therapy, Dani Weber

Back pain is a common complaint among people of many ages and can happen for a variety of reasons. The majority of cases of back pain are not a result of structural damage to the bones or muscles, and do not require surgery or braces. Back pain can be easily treated both in the physical therapy clinic and at home over the course of several weeks. 

Maintenance of back pain improvement through the continuation of an HEP (home exercise program) is crucial to prevent re-occurrence of back issues in the future. Some of the common reasons for, and factors that affect, back pain are poor body mechanics during common everyday tasks, poor core activation with overuse of the back, poor posture, age-related wear and tear, smoking, and an overall poor health status. It’s important to realize pain is your body’s way of getting your attention to tell you to make a change.    

  • Healthy Lifestyle Changes
    • Be mindful of your overall health and wellness. Try to eat healthy foods, and drink enough water
    • Getting enough sleep will affect your body’s perception of pain and ability to heal
  • Exercise
    • Try to reach at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise at least 5 days a week (this can be broken up into 3 sessions of 10 minutes throughout the day)
    • Staying active is important because it increases circulation, which helps with healing.
    • Specific exercises can be provided by a qualified physical therapist. The exercises are intended to be performed without increased pain and are important in order to correct any poor habits, improve posture, decrease pain, and teach you ways in which you can continue to improve from the comforts of your home.
  • Healthy Posture and Body Mechanics
    • Be mindful of your posture while: sitting, standing, sleeping, log rolling, lifting
      • Do you always cross one leg over the other? Do you sleep on your stomach with one leg rotated out to the side? Do you lean onto the same arm rest every time you sit?
    • It is very important to be mindful of your posture and the way you are performing your daily tasks in order to maintain a healthy spine.
    • Breathe. This might sound simple. However, many people tend to hold their breath with functional activity or exertion. Pay attention to your breath and try to EXHALE during the exertion or “work” of the movement you are performing. This will help to engage your deep core muscles and decrease the strain on your joints.
  • Ice and Heat
    • For newer injuries, apply an ice pack wrapped in towels for 10-15 minutes at a time every 2 to 3 hours
    • For older or chronic injuries, apply either an ice pack or a heat pack in the same fashion depending on what works best to alleviate your pain

As always, if you need help or guidance, or continue to experience back pain/injuries, please don’t wait to give us a call. The sooner we can help you address your back issues, the quicker we can get you feeling better and the less lasting damage you will have. Please feel free to visit our locations page or request an appointment by clicking here.