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Physical Therapy for the Spine / Houston
What is even more alarming is that many people believe that once low back pain manifests, back surgery is the only option capable of addressing the problem. Fortunately, physical therapy can often have extremely beneficial effects, including reducing or eliminating pain and restoring function and flexibility.
Methods used in physical therapy for the spine can vary widely depending on the patient’s condition and level of pain. Thorough medical consultation is advised to prevent misdiagnosis, as physical therapy for the wrong condition may not alleviate (and actually may worsen) the patient’s problems. Once a course of physical therapy has been prescribed, several subsequent visits may be necessary to ascertain a patient’s progress against an established recovery plan.
Physical therapy for the spine often includes multiple components to maximize the chances of reducing back pain over the long term. First, a licensed physical therapist instructs a patient in how movement, lifting, and exercise will be different as a result of the patient’s condition. Once a patient has appropriated these new motions, the physical therapist then implements a regimen of specific exercises catered to the patient’s condition. Common exercises often include light aerobics and core strengthening exercises, which increase the load-bearing capability of muscles, ligaments, and tendons around the spine. The load on the spinal column is subsequently reduced. Core strengthening is especially important, as it can contribute to improved performance in all athletic activities.
Other physical therapy options may include ice packs (which can reduce inflammation and sensation) and heating pads (which increase surface circulation). Exercises that minimize joint impact while simultaneously promoting circulation and flexibility—such as yoga or Tai Chi—are emphasized. Healthy dieting, nutritional supplements, and proper weight management are all also essential components of a successful physical therapy regimen. Proper nutrition will aid in muscle development, while weight management will minimize the incidence of low back pain as well as the possibility of recurrent structural problems.