Back pain affects millions of people each year and is the second most common reason for disability. There are many ways to treat back pain, including medications, injections, and surgery. The latest scientific reviews report that the most effective way to treat low back pain is a multidisciplinary approach that combines exercise, mindfulness training, spinal manipulation, and massage.
When you come to Atlantic Physical Therapy, you are comprehensively evaluated by a Doctor of Physical Therapy. During the first session, the therapist reviews the history of your pain and your past medical history. You will be asked such questions as:
- Is your pain better or worse with certain activities or movements or with certain positions, such as sitting or standing?
- Is your pain more noticeable at certain times of day?
- Is your pain relieved or made worse by resting?
- What medications are you taking and what other medical conditions are you being treated for?
- Have you had any recent stressful events, injuries, incidents, or environmental factors that you believe might have contributed to your condition?
- What activities is pain inhibiting you from participating in?
- Have you had any imaging studies such as an MRI or x-ray?
Following the medical history review, your physical therapist will perform a detailed examination. The evaluation will assess your strength, flexibility, balance, coordination, posture, and gait. Your physical therapist will use their hands to examine or “palpate” the affected area to determine the mobility of your joints, muscles, and other tissues. The therapist will assess the affect movement has on your pain by observing you bend and squat.
The therapist will work with you to determine your goals. These goals can include:
- Decreasing or eliminating pain.
- Improving strength and flexibility
- Return to functional, athletic and/or leisure activities.
Your physical therapist will develop a customized treatment plan to address your goals. This may include modalities such as:
- Hot packs/cold packs
- Electrical Stimulation
- Traction/Spinal Decompression
- Spinal Manipulation
- The Graston Technique
- Manual Therapy
- Therapeutic Exercises
- Functional Activity Training
- Mindfulness training and Relaxation Techniques
Each treatment session of physical therapy will work towards achieving your goals and addressing impairments in pain, swelling, weakness, or limited motion. Your physical therapist will constantly assess your response to each treatment and will make adjustments as needed. Each session is about an hour, but can be longer or shorter depending on your individual needs.
Your physical therapist will educate you on their findings and the treatments plan. This usually includes teaching you a customized exercise program to do at home to supplement the treatment you receive in the clinic. Your therapist will also teach you proper body mechanics with lifting, squatting, and changing positions in order to prevent symptom flare-ups.
Your physical therapist will determine your need for any special equipment such as a brace. if you do need special equipment, your therapist will instruct you in how to wear and care for the equipment.
Your physical therapist will communicate with your physician by sending reports of examination findings and treatment plans. If your therapist finds that may be in need of additional care such as medication or imaging studies, they will refer you to the appropriate medical professional.
Physical therapy empowers you by teaching you strategies and exercises to decrease or eliminate your pain so you can independently manage the condition. When you are discharged from physical therapy, you will be given exercise instructions for the future. If you ever have any questions, your therapist will be available to help you via phone or email.
If you have additional questions or would like to set up an appointment, call us at 215-271-4100 or contact us here.