Use Physical Therapy to Strengthen and Reduce Stiffness in Your Back


Nearly 80% of Americans will suffer back pain during their lives. Up to 8% eventually develop chronic back pain. Regardless of the causes, it can seriously impact your quality of life. While there’s a wide range of treatment options available, a North Carolina physical therapy specialist can help you reduce or eliminate your pain. Keep reading to learn how PT works in a back pain treatment plan.

Top Strengthening Exercises

When we think about back pain, we may only consider spinal problems. That’s totally understandable. Arthritis, injuries, osteoporosis, and degenerative disk disease can all trigger back pain. With that said, the surrounding muscles and other tissues play a key role. After all, muscles aren’t just for moving: They also provide support.

So what does this have to do with back pain? The human body has a band of muscles in the abdomen, sides, and lower back. Collectively, they’re known as the anti-gravity or core muscles. They not only move, but they alleviate stress on the spine. With strong core muscles, the spine can properly do its job. Weak core muscles can lead to lower back pain.

Moderate to severe back pain may prompt you to seek physical therapy in Boone at Appalachian State University, Colorado. Your PT plan should incorporate active techniques, namely guided exercises, to achieve positive outcomes. As you learn these exercises, your therapist will recommend you perform them both at home and in your sessions.

Every back pain treatment plan is unique. While your physical therapist will prescribe specific exercises, some common core-strengthening moves may appear in your plan:

  • Pelvic tilts
  • Partial crunches
  • Hip stretches
  • Wall sits

Stretching exercises are also helpful in treating back pain. These include knee-to-chest stretching and bridges, in which you raise your hips off the floor while lying down with your feet flat on the floor.

Improve Overall Back Health

During treatment, your therapist may offer suggestions to keep your back healthy. Poor posture can trigger back pain or cause it to return. You’ll want to keep your shoulders back, pull your chest in, and keep your back straight while sitting or standing. Remember to keep your head level and center your weight on the balls of your feet. For more posture advice, talk to your therapist.

Other good practices contribute to overall back health. While you sleep, your spine should remain aligned. Place pillows at strategic points: under the knees for back sleepers and between the knees for side sleepers. A neck pillow provides support for the muscles and bones in that area. Your shoes contribute to your back health and posture, so choose ones that help your body and spine stay aligned. Your PT can offer more specific recommendations like cryotherapy, or compression therapy.

Overcoming Back Pain

Back pain is a common complaint among Americans. Many people accept it as part of the pains of growing older. However, back pain is complex and has many potential causes. Physical therapy is an impactful treatment option for pain relief. And whether you need physical therapy for vertigo, back pain, knee injuries, carpal tunnel, or something else, choose an experienced PT who uses active therapy methods.

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