Back pain: When to seek physical therapy

Back pain is a common stressor among adults, especially as we age. You may feel that back pain is inevitable and that eventually you will have to deal with chronic or recurring back pain. Although many do suffer with back pain, you don’t have to choose to deal with it on your own. A physical therapist can work with you to help ease your pain.

You may only occasionally feel aches and pains depending on what activities you have done. However, you shouldn’t have to deal with even occasional back pain alone. Physical therapy is a great option for treating back pain, even if it doesn’t occur that often for you. 

How can physical therapists help me address back pain?

Many of us may feel that back pain shouldn’t be an issue for us or that it’s just a normal thing that people have to deal with. For example, many college students experience back pain from long nights at the library cramming for an exam or craning their neck and back while looking at their computer. Although it may seem normal because everyone else seems to engage in these habits, that does not mean that having back pain is normal. Sitting for too long or having improper posture can lead to long-term chronic pain in your back. 

A physical therapist can take into account lifestyle and social factors, like how often you are active and what your daily life looks like. They can also assess the intensity of therapy that you may need to recover. Back pain — even if it is only occasional — should not be something that you just accept. A simple PT consultation can educate you on how to prevent pains before they start and the types of PT available to address your current pain.

When should I seek out physical therapy?

If you find yourself thinking, “I should talk to someone about my back pain” or find yourself thinking about your back pain frequently, you should consider treatment with a physical therapist. Not only should back pain not be something you have to focus on, but it also should not control your life. 

If you have to avoid certain activities or need to take medication to get through your day because of back pain, these are also signs that you would benefit from consulting with a physical therapist. Even if it may seem that your back pain has become normal, it does not have to be a part of your routine. 

What habits could be causing/contributing to my back pain?

Another factor to consider when seeking treatment is if you are engaging in behaviors or habits that could be causing your back pain. This could be that you engage in activities that could cause stress on your back. Some activities that can place added stress on your back include: 

  • Working a manual labor job.
  • Regularly sitting for long periods of time. 
  • Lifting heavy weights throughout the day.

Additionally, if you are not using proper form for lifting weights or are very active for long periods of time without a break, then you may be risking injury or unnecessary pain. Consulting with a physical therapist can give you treatment options for your back pain as well as inform you on how to safely engage in these activities to prevent further pain. 

Could my back pain be related to my age? 

The short answer is yes. 

Age is often a factor for people who develop back pain. As we age, the vertebrae, discs and other structures in our backs can start to break down due to wear and tear. The increasing wear and tear can then lead to inflammation and pain. Let’s say you’re in your 40s and have waited tables four days out of the week, and have for 15 years. You spend a lot of time on your feet, carrying food and bending over tables — all of which puts stress on your back. Even if you engage in proper form, take enough breaks, and use stretches or recovery methods, back pain is more likely to flare up as you get older. But with physical therapy, you can find treatments that help with lessening those already occurring pains and aches.

Where can I find physical therapy for my back pain?

Talking to a physical therapist at Lattimore Physical Therapy can be easy and stress-free. When you’re working with our certified therapists, amazing things can happen. 

There are a range of physical therapy options we offer, and we can combine them into a personalized treatment plan built just for your circumstances and recovery goals.
Contact our team today for more information about our back pain treatment options or to schedule an initial appointment with us.

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