If you have low back pain, you are not alone. At any given time, about 25% of people in the United States report having low back pain within the past 3 months. In most cases, low back pain is mild and disappears on its own. For some people, back pain can return or hang on, leading to a decrease in quality of life or even to disability.
If your low back pain is accompanied by the following symptoms, you should visit your local emergency department immediately:
Loss of bowel or bladder control
Numbness in the groin or inner thigh
These symptoms might indicate a condition called “cauda equina syndrome,” in which nerves at the end of the spinal cord that control bowel and bladder function are being squeezed.
Here is a GREAT educational video on Low Back Pain
Signs and Symptoms of Low Back Pain
The symptoms of low back pain vary a great deal. Your pain might be dull, burning, or sharp. You might feel it at a single point or over a broad area. It might be accompanied by muscle spasms or stiffness. Sometimes, it might spread into 1 or both legs.There are 3 different types of low back pain:
Acute – pain lasting less than 3 months
Recurrent – acute symptoms come back
Chronic – pain lasting longer than 3 months
Most people who have an episode of acute pain will have at least 1 recurrence. While the actual cause of low back pain isn’t often known, symptoms usually resolve on their own. Psychosocial factors, such as self-confidence and a perceived ability to cope with disability, have been shown to be predictors of who might not recover from low back pain as expected. We used to believe the cause of low back pain was related directly to the tissues of our body, but are now understanding the condition to be more complex.
Although low back pain is rarely serious or life threatening, there are several conditions that may be related to your low back pain, such as:
Degenerative disk disease
Lumbar spinal stenosis
Tumors of the spine
While we used to believe the above list contributed directly to low back pain, research has shown these conditions are also present in people without any pain (asymptomatic).
How Is Low Back Pain Diagnosed?
Your physical therapist will perform a thorough evaluation that includes:
A review of your health history.
Questions about your specific symptoms.
A thorough examination that includes assessing the quality and quantity of your movements, and any movement behaviors that might put you at risk for delayed recovery.
Tests to identify signs or symptoms that could indicate a serious health problem, such as broken bones or cancer.
Assessment of how you use your body at work, at home, during sports, and at leisure.
For most cases of low back pain imaging tests, such as x-rays, computed tomography (CT) scans, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are not helpful for recovery. For example, in a recently published article comparing patients who received an MRI first vs physical therapy first for low back pain, the patients who received an MRI first spent on average $4,793 more (with similar outcomes in each group). If your physical therapist suspects that your low back pain might be caused by a serious health condition, the therapist will refer you to other health care professionals for further evaluation.
Do You Need an MRI to Diagnose your Low Back Pain?
How Can a Physical Therapist Help Treat My Low Back Pain?
Your physical therapist can help you improve or restore mobility and reduce low back pain—in many cases, without expensive surgery or the side effects of medications.If you are having low back pain right now:
Stay active, and do as much of your normal routine as possible (bed rest for longer than a day can actually slow down your recovery.)
If your pain lasts more than a few days or gets worse, schedule an appointment to see your physical therapist.
Not all low back pain is the same, so your treatment should be tailored to for your specific symptoms and condition. Once the examination is complete, your physical therapist will evaluate the results, identify the factors that have contributed to your specific back problem, and design an individualized treatment plan for your specific back problem. Treatments may include:
Manual therapy, including spinal manipulation, to improve the mobility of joints and soft tissues
Specific strengthening and flexibility exercises
Education about how you can take better care of your back
Training for proper lifting, bending, and sitting; for doing chores both at work and in the home; and for proper sleeping positions
Assistance in creating a safe and effective physical activity program to improve your overall health
Use of ice or heat treatments or electrical stimulation to help relieve pain
Can Low Back Pain be Prevented?
As experts in restoring and improving mobility and movement in people’s lives, physical therapists play an important role not only in treating persistent or recurrent low back pain, but also in preventing it and reducing your risk of having it come back.Physical therapists can teach you how to use the following strategies to prevent back pain:
Use good body positioning at work, home, or during leisure activities.
Keep the load close to your body during lifting.
Ask for help before lifting heavy objects.
Maintain a regular physical fitness regimen—staying active can help to prevent injuries.
There is evolving evidence suggesting that the best strategy in preventing disability and care-seeking for low back pain is simply understanding what we are learning about the topic of pain. To learn more, read more about pain.
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Solve the root cause of your pain
How Our Treatment is Different
We believe that working with a specific specialist for your care is the best way to solve the root cause of your pain. Work one-on-one with a Doctor of Physical Therapy every time your visit our office.
While most clinics will give you a limited amount of time with your Doctor, we believe that true results come from consistent one-on-one therapy.
Work with your specialist every visit
Stop being handed off to trainees or non-Doctors for your Physical Therapy. At Pursuit, you'll work exclusively with your Doctor of Physical Therapy that specializes in your specific needs.
24/7 messaging access to your specialist
Ever have an issue or questions? We're here to help. Get 24/7 access to your specialist while you're under our care. Physical Therapy doesn't just happen when you're in our clinic, so we're here for you when you need us.
No waiting periods
Get off that waiting list and get the treatment you need. We're always ready to accept new patients, so you can get better faster and get back to a pain-free life that you deserve.
Not limited by insurance
Don't let the insurance companies tell you how much treatment you need. Avoid the limitations of short sessions that insurance provides and work with our Doctors when you need it and for as long as you need it.
No painful injections, no expensive medications, no surgery
In order to truly solve your pain, we use a holistic approach to Physical Therapy, not relying on injections, medications, or surgery. Instead, we'll strengthen your body's weak points that are causing your pain.
Our expert PTs
Work Only with Doctors of Physical Therapy
Dr. Ron Miller
DPT, OCS, Cert DN
Doctor of Physical Therapy | Board Certified Orthopaedic Physical Therapy Clinical Specialist | Post-Doctoral Orthopaedic Residency Trained | Certified in Dry Needling
Dr. Carey Rothschild
DPT, OCS, SCS, CSCS, CKTP
Doctor of Physical Therapy and Assistant Professor at the University of Central Florida | Board Certified Orthopaedic Clinical Specialist | Board Certified Sport Clinical Specialist
Dr. Michael Fabrick
DPT, Cert. DN
Doctor of Physical Therapy | Certified in Dry Needling | Pursuit Sports Performance Specialist | Professional Tennis Tour Physical Therapist
Dr. Jessica Sparschu
Doctor Of Physical Therapy | Dance Performance Specialist
Dr. Chris Parks
DPT, CSCS, CPY, RYT-200
Doctor of Physical Therapy | Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist | NASM Certified Personal Trainer | RY-200 Yoga Instructor | Medical Fitness Program Director
To Get A "Insider's Look" At Our Treatment Approach And How We Get Results...
Click Below To Watch Our Exclusive Webinar! It's Simple, Short, And It's Free!