Most adults (80%) over the age of 40 will experience some form of debilitating back pain over the course of their lifetime. I’ve compiled a list of 7 overlooked, often ignored reasons to seek the advice of a Physical Therapist to initiate a quick resolution to your suffering.
1. You rely on pain medication.
Relying on medication means you will never get to the root cause of your back pain. Most people are in agreement that pain killers are not their best option, yet doctors continue to give them out. In some cases it’s perfectly fine…for temporary relief of symptoms. However, these individuals are often not informed that the pain medication will not resolve their issue. For that to happen, a specialist must be included…a Physical Therapist. If our medical professionals would simply give out this simple piece of advice, not only would we have a nation that would be more active and healthier, we’d be more positive, more educated, and better informed in being able to look after our best asset…our health.
2. You’re doing the wrong exercises at the wrong time.
Most individuals that I treat admit to having tried some form of back exercises before seeking me out for treatment. And in many cases, they have made their condition worse by doing the wrong exercises for the wrong reasons. In my experience, exercises do very little to ease back pain initially. But that’s something that many people don’t quite understand. It is best not to exercise when you’re in pain as it only tends to make symptoms worse, yet nearly everyone who has got back pain thinks it’s the best thing to do. Physical Therapy and postural awareness/education first, then exercises to strengthen your body–this will make it much less likely that symptoms will return anytime soon, if at all. My one piece of advice that will help to make back pain much less likely…Yoga and Pilates to help make your back more flexible.
3. You wear a neoprene back support.
Most people erroneously assume that a back support will do just that...support. However, all this will do over time is weaken the muscles around your lower back–meaning, in 3 months, maybe less, your back is going to be worse off than before you started wearing the support. It is very similar to bedrest…sure, it feels nice initially, but that’s the problem–you get lured into a false sense of security because of a decrease in pain. And when you don’t wear the support, the pain becomes worse. So you think you must wear the support again “for a few more days” until the pain subsides. And you try to go without it again in a few days, and the pain flares back up. What you have now created is a self-perpetuating cycle…until you seek the help of a Physical Therapist to break that cycle.
4. You sit for long periods of time.
9 out of 10 back problems are made worse by sitting. Why? Because our bodies were not really designed to sit…and that’s a problem. Think about how much we sit during the course of a day…at work, in the car, watching TV, on a train or airplane, at the movies…it’s not difficult at all to see why so many individuals aged 50+ are struggling with back pain. Try to cut down on sitting and watch your back pain decrease. Here’s a quick tip…next time the phone rings take a short walk while talking (assuming it’s cordless!). This will be great for mental stimulation, eases pressure off of your back, and even provides a healthy benefit for your heart and lungs. You will also come across as being much more positive and speak with more energy and enthusiasm in your voice.
5. You’re back pain gets worse when you stand for > 10 minutes.
When we stand, our joints are locked stiff as pressure is placed upon them, mostly because muscles are weak–this means they become tight, tense, and painful. In order to alleviate the symptoms and get to the root cause, a Physical Therapist can provide hands-on manual therapy (soft tissue techniques such as myofascial release, mobilization, manipulation), followed by corrective exercise.
6. Your back pain comes and goes every few days.
This often means that your back is weak, and is a warning sign that something is not right. Many individuals erroneously think that when the pain subsides that everything is “okay.” However, this is the best time to address the issue. Eventually, the pain returns, and people now walk into my office doubled over in pain. Be proactive…address the issue early on to resolve symptoms (and the underlying cause) once and for all by seeing a Physical Therapist.
7. You have difficulty finding a comfortable sleeping position at night.
The one position to avoid at all costs is sleeping on our stomach. This is surely one of the fastest routes to self-inflicted damage of your spine. Ideally, either lie on your back with your knees elevated (roll up a blanket or beach towel to place under your knees) or lie on your side with your knees bent and a pillow between your knees.
The takeaway message is clear…seek Physical Therapy treatment early to avoid lingering issues down the road. Not only will you receive specialized hands-on treatment, but just as important is getting clarity and hope for a future that can be free from issues such as back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain, knee pain, etc…which should never be underestimated. By seeing a Physical Therapist you will end the confusion and get concrete answers to your concerning questions, an accurate diagnosis, and an expected time frame for a full resolution of your symptoms. Isn’t it worth it to end the fear and frustration of not knowing what’s wrong? Once you know that, I think you would agree that it would be much easier to enjoy life again knowing that someone knows what’s wrong and be able to resolve your issues.
If you or someone you know is experiencing back pain, don’t wait to take action. Call my office at once at (302)691-9055 or visit my website at www.wildermanpt.com to schedule your FREE 30 minute consultation to see how Physical Therapy can help you. Don’t delay–schedule now!