Chances are we all either know someone who has chronic low back pain or we have it ourselves. There are a number of different things you can do for low back pain, but there are so many conflicting things you hear on the internet about what to do. Listed below are the top 5 frequently asked questions we, as physical therapists, get asked the most.
- Should I get an MRI for my back?
- An MRI is an incredibly useful tool to rule out major injuries that may be causing your back pain. However, MRI results rarely factor into the decision making process when putting together a plan to fix your low back pain in physical therapy. In fact, they can often be misleading. The MOST important tests to find out what is causing your back pain and putting together a plan to fix it happen during the evaluation in physical therapy. Depending upon your age, chances are better than 50-50 that if you go for a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), some abnormality will be revealed. I have 2 herniated/bulging discs in my lower lumbar spine and I almost never have low back pain…. Because I know what to do to make sure these structural defects don’t slow me down.
- I have pain in my back that goes down my leg… what does that mean?
- This means that you likely have pressure on your sciatic nerve. Even light pressure from inflammation, disc bulging or herniation, tight muscles, poor posture and other reasons. Pain down your leg does not mean you have nerve damage. It just means you need to find out what is putting pressure on that nerve as fast as possible so you can remove that pressure.
- What exercises should I do to get rid of my back pain?
- That all depends on the cause of your low back pain. This is discovered during a free screen or an initial evaluation at Robbins Rehabilitation West. Some exercises might help and some might make it worse. Most low back pain sufferers either have a disc problem, an SI joint problem, or spinal stenosis. Sometimes you can have a combination of these…The point is that it is difficult to give exercises to help unless we know exactly what is causing the pain. A complete exam is required so that the exercises actually help with the pain.
- What will happen if I don’t do something to get rid of my back pain?
- The problem will likely get worse. Depending on what is causing your low back pain, it may come and go. Sometimes you might be fine for a few weeks or even months, but if you don’t fix the movement faults that are causing your low back pain, you will have a hard time getting rid of it for good and it could one day turn into a more serious problem.
- Should I take medication or get surgery for my back pain?
- These are common treatments for low back pain unfortunately. By now you probably know about the opioid crisis in our country. About 130 Americans die every day from drug overdoses related to prescription pain medication. That means that in a year’s time, almost as many people in this country will die from opioid addiction as soldiers killed in the entire Vietnam war. Surgery is an amazing tool in the right situation but it should be used as a last resort when it comes to most low back pain. You should consider surgery only after conservative care has failed.
Are you looking for more information and someone to tell you what is going on with your low back pain!? Come in for a free screen with one of our therapists.
It’s a 30 minute 1-on-1 appointment with a Physical Therapist where you get the following…
1. A DIAGNOSIS: Discover the cause of your pain so that you can attack the problem successfully.
2. A PROGNOSIS: Find out how long it will take to fix your back pain for good so you can get back to all the activities you used to do before your injury.
3. A PLAN: Your Physical Therapist will lay out a clear plan that outlines what will be required to get you back to normal.
All you need to do to get started is to call (610) 839 – 8764 and pick your time and location. We look forward to meeting you and getting you back to normal!
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