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:
These symptoms might indicate a condition called “cauda equina syndrome,” in which nerves at the end of the spinal cord are being squeezed.
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 one or both legs.
There are 3 different types of low back pain:
Most people who have an episode of acute pain will have at least one recurrence.
Often, low back pain occurs due to overuse, strain, or injury. It could be caused by too much bending, twisting, lifting—or even too much sitting. But just as often, the actual cause of low back pain isn’t known, and symptoms usually resolve on their own.
Although low back pain is rarely serious or life threatening, there are several conditions that may contribute to low back pain, such as:
Your physical therapist will perform a thorough evaluation that includes:
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 diagnosing the cause. However, 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 evaluation.
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:
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:
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:
All physical therapists are prepared through education and experience to treat people who have low back pain. You may want to consider:
You can find physical therapists who have these and other credentials by using Find a PT, the online tool built by the American Physical Therapy Association to help you search for physical therapists with specific clinical expertise in your geographic area.
General tips when you’re looking for a physical therapist (or any other health care provider):
Information can be found at original source: http://www.moveforwardpt.com/SymptomsConditionsDetail.aspx?cid=d0456c65-7906-4453-b334-d9780612bdd3#.VCsx5Eu4lFI
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