Haven't we all known someone who says he has a "bad back?" Usually when we say someone has a "bad back," what we are really saying is that he or she has pain near the lower spine. In most instances, the pain goes away in about two weeks, allowing the person to return to regular activities. However, the symptoms can become a more chronic, or long-term, issue.
After we hurt our back, it is common to avoid the activities that cause pain and even activities that we believe might hurt. Many times this is done with good intentions, but avoiding regular activities and movements long term can lead to reduced strength, flexibility and coordination of the low back resulting in an increas in pain.
Fortunately, there is something that you can do. Physical Therapy can generate improvements in muscle strength, function and quality of life for those with chronic low back pain. A physical therapist can provide you with real-time, personalized feedback and can tailor exercises to your particular symptoms, far more than you can get from pictures or online videos. Perhaps even more valuable, your physical therapist will know when to progress your program to help you reach your best potential outcome and return to more of the activities that are important to you. Take the first step by asking your physician for a referral to a physical therapist as part of your treatment plan!
Josh DeLoriea, DPT, PT, is the Supervisor of Commonwealth Orthopaedic Centers' Florence Physical Therapy Location.