Back pain is a very common malady. Globally, it affects 8 in 10 people. Fortunately, there is a top back pain specialist in Surprise, AZ that you can see to help curtail the pain. As you will learn, physical therapist directed care, at VitalCare Rehab, is conservative, drug-free, and has little to no side effects.
It’s Clinically Proven
High-quality studies have proven that seeing a physical therapist first will decrease your number of visits to specialist medical doctors (like surgeons), decrease the chance you will need an MRI, and will decrease the chance you will need surgery. Consider this landmark study performed by Gellhorn et. al. that looked at physical therapy treatment for acute (pain that started within 4 weeks) lower back pain:
The number of people studied: A national 20% sample of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services physician outpatient billing claims was analyzed. Patients were selected who received treatment for low back pain between 2003 and 2004 (n = 439,195).
The results: the adjusted odds ratio for undergoing surgery in the group of enrollees that received PT in the acute phase (<4 weeks) compared to those receiving PT in the chronic phase (>3 months) was 0.38 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.360.41), adjusting for age, sex, diagnosis, treating physician specialty, and comorbidity. The adjusted odds ratio for receiving a lumbosacral injection in the group receiving PT in the acute phase was 0.46 (95% CI, 0.44-0.49), and the adjusted odds ratio for frequent physician office usage in the group receiving PT in the acute phase was 0.47 (95% CI, 0.44-0.50).
The conclusions (take-home message): There was a lower risk of subsequent medical service usage among patients who received physical therapy early after an episode of acute low back pain relative to those who received PT at later times. Medical specialty variations exist regarding early use of PT, with potential underutilization among generalist specialties.
Why You Should See a Physical Therapist First
As you can see, this is a powerful study. There were over 400,000 people studied. The results are a bunch of statistical talk but in essence, if patients received physical therapy within 4 weeks of the start of lower back pain, they needed less medical care.
The conclusions were that patients needed less treatment (and repeat visits) from medical specialists, fewer tests like MRIs, fewer injections, and even fewer drug prescriptions.
Don’t Want Any Treatment? Here are Some Ideas
To be clear, if you have lower back pain, you should seek treatment. Seeing a physical therapist at VitalCare Rehab is what we recommend. However, we know some people will just tough it out. That’s not the right thing to do. However, for those that choose this path, here are some recommendations:
1) Walking exercise. We know – the last thing you want to do when your back hurts is to exercise, but studies show that simply staying active can help decrease the time it takes to recover from back pain and repeated flare-ups. If you’re struggling with back pain, try to get back into the groove and exercise as soon as possible. Don’t overexert yourself, but don’t take it too easy on yourself either. Finding the right balance is difficult. Regular exercise is important because it reactivates those tight muscles that can atrophy with back pain.
2) Keep your weight under control. Excess weight, especially in the mid-section, can put a strain on your back and cause you more pain. Try to stay within 10 pounds of your ideal weight to keep back pain at bay. It’s not always easy, but managing your weight can help decrease repeat episodes of lower back pain.
3) Maintain good posture. People with poor posture put excessive strain on their backs and can lead to flare-ups of back pain. Try remedies to improve your posture like taking frequent standing breaks at work. Here’s a link to an article published at the Mayo Clinic that describes what good posture is. Practice this as often as possible and don’t forget to sit in a straight-backed chair with your head up especially at work.
4) Strengthen your core. Weak abdominal muscles can help cause back pain. If your abdominal muscles can’t hold you upright, your back must overcompensate. Do exercises that strengthen your core and you’ll notice a difference.
5) For women – avoid high heels. They put you in an awkward standing position and do more harm than good. They’ll shift your center of gravity and strain your back. Stick to one inch or less if you can. Your back will thank you.
In conclusion, if you have lower back pain, we recommend you see one of our specialists. If you are going to tough it out, we hope some of this educational information will help.
If you have questions or need to make an appointment, please give us a call at (623) 544-0300