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Back Pain FAQ

July 14th, 2020
back pain faq healthquest physical therapy
Stuart Siegner HealthQuest Physical Therapy

If you have back pain, you may be questioning if physical therapy care is a treatment option. Below, HealthQuest Physical Therapy’s Founder, Stuart Siegner, PT, answers some frequently asked questions about back pain and physical therapy treatment.

What causes back pain?

Back pain affects about 80 percent of the US population. While it is common, you should seek medical care if it becomes something you deal with EVERY day. A variety of reasons can cause back pain such as disc degeneration that occurs with age and can be congenital like with scoliosis. However, most back pain is caused by muscle strain, trauma or injury. Also, our lifestyle (work or passions), history and environment can contribute. Certain physical body changes can cause back pain like pregnancy, excessive weight and poor posture. Doing nothing and ignoring your pain is the worst thing you can do! If you don’t know what to do and need a place to start, schedule a FREE back pain assessment!

How is back pain tested and diagnosed?

Physical therapy is a great place to start for orthopedic pain. The main reason, is our goal is to get to the root of your pain, figure out what’s causing it and then treat it. Your physical therapist will first perform a thorough medical history check, this detailed evaluation gives us a good idea for your treatment plan. Typically for back pain, there are no tests needed but if your therapist feels like diagnostic images such as MRIs and CT scans might be helpful, he/she will inform you. Tests may not be able to detect your back pain and it is best to consult with us or your doctor first.

What treatments are there for back pain?

Back pain can be treated in many different ways depending on your case. Most commonly, a patient with back pain will choose physical therapy, massages and chiropractic care. All three are great and work well together. Pain medication can be taken to briefly relieve pain and discomfort. Typically, back pain can be controlled with physical therapy. We believe in addressing the whole body and finding the root of what is causing your pain. We hope that patients will try physical therapy first before extreme treatments, such as surgery.

Surgery is required to treat most cases of low back pain. True or false?

FALSE!! Surgery is not needed for most cases of low back pain. In fact, most back surgeries are unsuccessful.

What are the symptoms of back pain?

Symptoms of back pain vary extremely depending on the area of the spine where pain is located, as well as what the underlying cause of pain is. Generally speaking, symptoms of back pain include:

  • Muscle spasms
  • Joint dysfunction
  • Muscle weakness
  • Dull, aching sensation
  • Decreased range of motion
  • Aching or stiffness along the spine
  • Numbness in the lower extremities
  • Leg numbness or “pins and needles”
  • Inability to stand straight without pain
  • Difficulty standing for long periods of time
  • Stabbing or shooting pain that can radiate down the leg

Any of these symptoms lasting longer than 5 days, you should figure out what’s going on. Come in for a free assessment, we would be glad to see what is going on and send you on the correct path, whether that be stretches, a referral to a doctor, or even a round of physical therapy.

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