“Lower back pain is something that many people experience. Surgery is normally on the top of the list of options when it comes to back pain. However, studies show that this needs to be re-evaluated.
“Physical Therapy reported as ‘Cornerstone’ of non-surgical treatment,”
Journal of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons
- Cindy Knight, PTMSOCS and partner here at ECRC comments on a review article saying that this article “should help convince many patients with low back pain to consider physical therapy first.” The article, published in February 2009, recommends that in most cases of symptomatic lumbar degenerative disc disease, PT is the best option. The best treatement for LBP is physical therapy along with anti-inflammatory medications.
Lumbar degenerative disc disease is one of the most common causes for lower back pain. Symptomatic lumbar degenerative disc disease is the cause of a weakened, injured, or deteriorated disc from aging. The article states that 75-85% of adults will be affected by low back pain during their lifetimes.
Lower Back Alternative Treatments
There are different treatment methods for symptomatic lumbar degenerative disc disease, including physical therapy with the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. The article concluded that, in most patients with lower back pain, symptoms resolve without surgery. Physical therapy and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are the “cornerstones” of non-surgical treatment.
Physical therapists can include strengthening of core muscle groups, including the abdominal wall and lumbar musculature, which can have positive effects in patients with this condition. According to American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) spokesperson Julie Fritz, physical therapists have several treatment options that can help patients with LBP whether due to degenerative disc disease or a variety of other causes.
Exercise and manual therapy have been shown to benefit many patients. Manual physical therapy, or spinal manipulation, combines moving, jolting, massaging, and exercising different joints in order to relieve pain and improve overall function. The use of spinal manipulation can help lower back pain in patients with LBP.
In addition, physical therapist’s remind patients to remain active and use appropriate body mechanics to benefit them. Physical therapists are trained to identify which of these treatment strategies will be most effective for an individual patient. Doing so further improves the effectiveness of care.
The review stated that exercise has been shown to improve function and decrease pain in adult patients with chronic LBP and that physical therapy was beneficial for the treatment of acute LBP. NSAIDs provide LBP patients with short-term symptomatic relief.
Why Physical Therapy
“Receiving care from a licensed physical therapist can further improve the odds that a patient can maintain the quality of life and avoid surgery,” said Fritz. Building the core muscle groups is an important part of the process. In addition, hands-on therapy is used to mobilize the spine. “Spinal manipulation can be an important component of physical therapist treatment for low back pain. “Supplementing exercise with spinal manipulation is also beneficial for many patients.” Physical therapists help develop safe and effective exercise programs tailored to an individual’s specific needs and goals.
Physical therapists are highly-educated, licensed health care professionals who can help patients reduce pain and improve or restore mobility. Physical therapists can help in many cases without expensive surgery or the side effects of prescription medications. In CT, patients can make an appointment directly with a physical therapist, without a physician referral. Learn more about conditions physical therapists can treat and find a physical therapist in your area at www.moveforwardpt.com.
“Surgery should be the last option, but too often patients think of surgery as a cure all and are eager to embark on it,” said Luke Madigan, M.D. Madigan is an attending physician at Knoxville Orthopedic Clinic, Knoxville, TN, and the lead author of the literature review.
ECRC PT can help you with your LBP. Contact any of the PTs in our convenient locations throughout eastern CT.