Physical therapy utilizes therapeutic exercises to restore functional capabilities in patients recovering from injury or illness

Physical therapy is a health care profession that involves the diagnosis and management of movement dysfunction and enhancement of physical and functional capabilities.

In addition, physical therapy incorporates the restoration, maintenance, and promotion of optimal physical function, optimal fitness and wellness, and an optimal quality of life as it relates to movement and health.

Physical therapy also attempts to prevent the onset, symptoms, and progression of impairments, functional limitations, and disabilities that may result from diseases, disorders, conditions, or injuries.

The terms “physical therapy” and “physiotherapy” are synonymous as are physical therapist and physiotherapist.

The purpose of this article is to define how physical therapy is used to treat back pain, neck pain, and sciatica.

What Can Physical Therapy Do For Your Back and Neck Pain?

Here’s a comprehensive description of how physical therapy can help with back pain from the Cleveland Clinic.

What is physical therapy?
Physical therapy is the science of blending physiology with exercises and applying these principles to the body when an injury is sustained. Physical therapy for back and neck conditions focuses on the structures that support the spine and its joints including muscles, tendons, and ligaments.

Goals of physical therapy
There are five main goals of physical therapy, as described below:

    1. To educate patients on the principles of stretching and strengthening, which will in turn, help manage pain and accelerate tissue healing.
    2. To educate patients on proper posture and ergonomic principles to preserve the spine.
    3. To accelerate the stages of healing, which focus on:
      Reducing pain and the inflammatory cycle
      Apply passive modalities only if severe: ice/heat/ultrasound/traction/electrical stimulation
      Educate regarding posture and resting in neutral position
      Restoring muscular flexibility, joint mobility, and spine motion
      Introduce specific stretching exercises and progressions to abolish pain and stiffness to specific regions with high frequency and repetitions
      Strengthening the involved muscles
      Teach how to maintain the new postures
      Returning to normal activities
      Create new awareness of body mechanics and daily stretching for life
    4. To prevent future occurrences. As you are able to maneuver through episode of back or neck pain, learn what program is needed to deter relapses.
    5. To manage exacerbations. No matter how diligent you are, you are bound to have a forgetful moment, do an activity improperly and so suffer flare up, but new knowledge will help eliminate symptoms in a couple days, instead of suffering for weeks or months.

    (Read the full article)

Physical Therapy Benefits For Back Pain

In this article, Dr. Peter F. Ullrich, Jr., an Orthopedic Surgeon with NeuroSpine Center of Wisconsin, describes active and passive physical therapy benefits for back pain.

After an episode of low back pain has lasted between two and six weeks, or if there are frequent recurrences of low back pain, it is reasonable to consider back pain exercises and physical therapy for back treatment. (Some spine specialists consider back exercise and physical therapy sooner, particularly if the pain is severe.) In general, the goals of back pain exercises and physical therapy are to decrease back pain, increase function, and provide education on a maintenance program to prevent further recurrences.

Passive physical therapy – modalities
There are many different forms of physical therapy. Acutely, the therapist may focus on decreasing pain with passive physical therapy (modalities). These are considered passive therapies because they are done to the patient. Examples of modalities include:

  • Heat/ice packs
  • TENS units
  • Iontophoresis
  • Ultrasound

(Read full article)

Physical therapy can help resolve back pain if the treatment uses less of a passive approach and more of an active form of treatment. A physical therapy program that incorporates specific therapeutic exercises that address the functional needs of the patient tend to work best.

Would you like to receive more information about how to relieve your back pain, neck pain, or sciatica? We’re putting together a free comprehensive educational seminar that we call the Virtual Back Pain Clinic and we’d love to have you join us. Just click this link to learn more and we’ll make sure to reserve you a seat. Virtual Back Pain Clinic Details

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