ProCare Physical Therapy Services for Back Pain

Low back pain is one of the most common diagnosis seen in many physical therapy clinics, and it affects nearly 85-90% of Americans at one time or another. It is the second leading cause of visits to a doctor, and the leading cause of lost time at work.

The most common causes of low back pain are:

  • Muscle or ligament strain: This injury results in microscopic tears of varying degrees in muscles, tendons and/or ligaments. It is considered one of the most common causes of low back pain. The injury can occur because of overuse, improper use, or trauma.
  • Bulging, herniated or ruptured discs: Discs act as cushions between the individual bones (vertebrae) in your spine. Sometimes, the soft material inside a disc may bulge out of place or rupture and press on a nerve.
  • Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD): Refers to the changes in the spinal discs as the result of chronic wear and tear, injury, or simply aging. When the discs between the vertebrae begin to break down, the damaged discs lose their water content, lose their height, and bring the vertebrae closer together. When this happens, the discs don't absorb the shocks as well, particularly when you are walking, running or jumping.
  • Osteoarthritis: It is a condition in which the protective cartilage that cushions the tops of bones (vertebrae) wears down. This causes pain and swelling. It may also cause the development of osteophytes, or bone spurs. In some cases, arthritis in the spine can lead to a narrowing of the space around the spinal cord (spinal stenosis).
  • Spondylolisthesis: A defect that allows one vertebra to slide over another. When this happens, bones can press on the spinal nerves and cause lower back pain.
  • Spinal Deformities: Curvature problems such as scoliosis or kyphosis.
  • Vertebral Fractures: Caused by a lot of force, such as, from an auto/bicycle accident, a direct blow to the spine, or compressing the spine by a fall onto the buttocks or head.

Physical therapists are highly educated, licensed health care professionals who can help patients reduce pain and improve or restore mobility - in many cases without expensive surgery.

An article in the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons recommends that in most cases of lumbar degenerative disc disease, the most effective treatment is physical therapy combined with anti-inflammatory medications. There is substantial evidence supporting the benefits of physical therapy and exercise for the treatment of low back pain and after back surgery. The strength and stability that physical therapy provides can reduce back pain, improve function, and significantly shorten a patient's recovery time after surgery.

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