BackIf you suffer from recurring back pain, you have plenty of company. Back pain is one of the most common and universal health complaints among adults. Its causes are often unclear, and solutions that work wonders for some individuals may be completely ineffective for others. Not surprisingly, some sufferers have adopted habits that provide pain relief but may eventually lead to more problems.

One common habit, back flexion, or leaning forward, can relieve pain because a flexed back opens the intervertebral foramina, the spaces between your vertebrae through which the nerves travel. When these nerves become compressed or “pinched,” they can cause pain. Leaning forward, whether while sitting or standing, flexes the spine, increasing the space between the vertebrae, which may reduce compression pain.

People who use this pain relief approach stoop when walking. While this posture may relieve back pain, it can also increase stiffness in the lower back and tighten muscles in front of the hips.

We can provide a more effective solution with a physical therapy program that helps you achieve a healthier posture while reducing pain and creating strength and flexibility in your spine and hips. Such a program would include the following:

• Medication such as ibuprofen (if your physician approves) or other options including ice, acupuncture and soft tissue massage can relieve pain.

• Exercises that both flex and extend the back to reduce stiffness and increase range of motion. Targeted exercises for the lower abdominal muscles can help create the core stability needed to control and stabilize your spine.

• After conducting an analysis of your body’s biomechanics, we can suggest corrections for any defects. For instance, you may need to wear shoe orthotics to compensate for biomechanical imbalances in the foot or leg that may cause your back pain.

Once your treatment program has achieved success, we will design an at-home maintenance plan of exercises and additional activities, such as yoga, Pilates, walking and swimming, that can help keep your back strong, prevent recurrence of back pain and enable you to enjoy a more active and healthier lifestyle.

August PTEDigest Includes:

Getting Hip to Arthroscopic Surgery
At Your Service: Tennis Tips for Older Players
Healing Achilles Tendinopathy: A Marathon, Not a Sprint
One Less Headache to Worry About
We’ve Got Your Back

Download PTD August 2015