Signs and Symptoms of Low Back Pain
The symptoms of low back pain vary a great deal. Your pain may be dull, burning, or sharp. You might feel it at one point or a larger area. There may be muscle spasm and it might spread into your legs.
Unfortunately, most people who have experience back pain will have at least one recurrence. Although low back pain is rarely serious or life threatening, its effect on an individual’s ability to carry out their normal work and recreational activities can be dramatic.
There are a number of conditions that may be contributing to your back pain including:
- Degenerative disk disease
- Lumbar spinal stenosis
- Herniated disk
- Tumors of the spine
- Pelvic dysfunction
- Muscle injury
- Muscle weakness
Tightness in surrounding musculature
- Posture or activity abnormalities
- Facet joint injury
- Ligament damage
How Is Back Pain Diagnosed?
Your physical therapist will perform a thorough evaluation that may include:
- 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
- Assessment of flexibility
- Assessment of strength in the muscles around the spine
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).
Our physical therapists are expert at determining if it is likely that your low back pain is being caused by a serious health condition. If so we will refer you to other health care professionals that we trust for further evaluation.
How Can We Help?
We can help improve or restore mobility and reduce low back pain fast—in many cases, without expensive surgery or the side effects of medications.
- Stay active, and do as much of your normal routine as possible. It is important to note that bed rest for longer than a day can actually slow down your recovery.
- If your pain has lasted more than a few days or has been getting worse, schedule a complimentary consultation with us so we can help get you relief fast.
We understand that every back pain patient is different.
- We will tailor your treatment to you.
- Once the examination is complete, we will evaluate the results and share our findings with you in a report.
- We will identify the factors that have contributed to your specific back problem, and design an individualized treatment plan for you.
Treatments may include:
- Manual therapy, including spinal manipulation, to improve the mobility of joints and soft tissues
- Computerized strength testing to determine your level of spinal muscle strength relative to normal
- 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
Dry Needling to assist in rapid healing
Massage to help relieve muscle spasm