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lower back pain treatment options

Lower Back Pain Treatment Options

Lower Back Pain Treatment Options

What is the first thing you do when your lower back starts to hurt? Do you reach for an over the counter medication to ease the pain? While that may provide brief relief, it does not solve the problem and your lower back pain can frequently reoccur.

A safer treatment option for lower back pain is physical therapy, but how often have you thought of that as a first line of defense to feeling better — and feeling better permanently?

In addition to medications, maybe surgery has been recommended to you. While in some cases, this is needed, you may also want to consider other options such as physical therapy. 

Physical therapy can help not only identify the cause of your lower back pain, but help you heal in a safe way without drugs and side effects. There are lots of ways that physical therapy is a great option for lower back pain treatment.

Lower Back Pain Treatment Options

Physical therapy is a great treatment option when it comes to lower back pain as it is non-invasive. It should be tried as a non-surgical treatment option before surgery is considered in most cases.

[Related article: Common Causes of Lower Back Pain]

Its goals are to decrease your pain, improve your function, and prevention of further back pain issues.

When it comes to physical therapy, there is passive or active physical therapy.

Passive physical therapy includes treatments that the physical therapist can do to help your back pain. These include manual therapy, heat, ice, and/or a TENS unit. Passive physical therapy aims to work on the muscles and soft tissues.

Active physical therapy includes things that you participate in yourself. The ways that you move your body impact your pain and healing and can prevent future problems. For example, one cause of lower back pain could be core instability. Strengthening the core provides additional support for the lower back and can prevent pain. Exercising and stretching will be a large part of the active physical therapy portion of your treatment.

When To See a Physical Therapist For Lower Back Pain

If your lower back pain has lasted anywhere from a couple weeks to over a month, visit your physical therapist. If it occurs frequently or if it is severe, visit your physical therapist.

Your back pain could be connected to other parts of the body, including other muscles. Your physical therapist can show you specifically what will help your lower back pain, based on the cause that he or she is able to help identify for you.

If you have had back surgery, physical therapy can also help. Our physical therapists can help tailor lower back pain treatment options that are right for you.

To take a step toward living a life with no more back pain, contact us today.

national physical therapy month

4 Reasons Why National Physical Therapy Month Matters To You

As a team of physical therapists, we are happy to share with you that this month is National Physical Therapy Month! However, even more important to you is knowing how that impacts your life and why it matters to your health.

Day in and day out we work closely with our patients and see firsthand the benefits that physical therapy has on each of our patients, on their health and in their lives. We can’t help but share these things with you so that you can experience them too.

Why National Physical Therapy Month Matters To You

A physical therapist is an expert in the movement of the body, helping you live an optimal life, pain free by providing treatment, care, and education. 

There are long-term health benefits to working with a physical therapist. Not to mention the fact that he or she can help you to get out of pain. They can also help you prevent further problems and pain from occurring.

National Physical Therapy Month brings all of these things into the spotlight. Here are four reasons why National Physical Therapy Month matters to you.

Reason #1

Physical therapy provides a way to stay healthy and active and keep your body moving and functioning properly.

Reason #2

Direct access to your physical therapist means no red tape to go through to enlist the help of this healthcare professional who is on your side.

Reason #3

Physical therapy can be an important tool and resource in your life for healing, beyond drugs and prescription medications, which can carry dangerous side effects.

Reason #4

Physical therapy and your physical therapist both empower you to take your healthcare choices into your own hands, and gives you more options apart from drugs and surgery.

More than anything else, Contact Physical Therapy and the American Physical Therapy Association want you to know that physical therapy is available to you as a way to manage pain effectively without the use of drugs such as opioids for chronic pain.

Our physical therapists are on your side when it comes to living life without pain that is holding you back from what you love. 

To schedule a consultation, contact us today.

common causes of lower back pain

Common Causes of Lower Back Pain

If you are experiencing one of the common causes of lower back pain, you are not alone. Lower back pain will affect most of us in our lifetime. 

While some common causes of lower back pain will heal with treatment and time, others may not. The good news is that physical therapy can help treat or alleviate the pain from many common causes of lower back pain.

[Related Article: Three Stretches For Lower Back Pain]

Common Causes of Lower Back Pain

If you are experiencing lower back pain, it may be due to one of these common causes:

  • Sciatica
  • Arthritis
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Strained muscle
  • Ligament sprain
  • Herniated disc

[Related article: Sciatica Pain and What To Do About It]

Lower back pain can happen suddenly or gradually over time. Most of the time when you are experiencing a lower back issue it is due to the mechanics of your body and/or a soft tissue injury.

Those types of injuries can damage the discs, compress nerves and not allow the joints in the spine to move properly. All of these things cause you pain.

An example of this type of injury would be stretching muscles and ligaments too far, which can lead to sprains and strains. These types of injuries may be caused by lifting, twisting, falling, bad posture, and/or injuries. These you can heal from.

Others, are chronic causes of lower back pain, such as:

  • Herniated disc
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Facet joint dysfunction
  • Sacroiliac joint dysfunction
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Scoliosis
  • Spondylolisthesis
  • Compression fracture

There could be other causes of lower back pain related to other things happening in the body, although these are less common.

For many of these conditions, physical therapy can help to alleviate many common causes of lower back pain. Our physical therapists can help tailor a program that is right for you and help to alleviate many common causes of lower back pain. To get started, contact us today.

degenerative disc disease

What Is Degenerative Disc Disease?

Degenerative disc disease (DDD) can happen in the neck or back. It is often considered a normal part of aging. Some people have degenerative disc disease and do not have any pain or symptoms at all. For other people, pain may be the first sign that you are suffering from this condition.

Degenerative Disc Disease: How Does It Happen?

Discs sit in between the vertebrae in your spine. In this position, they act as a cushion for the vertebrae, and also act to help hold together your spine and allow it to bend and move slightly.

They contain mostly water when we are born. Over time, the discs lose their hydration. Because there is no direct blood supply to the discs, they do not have the ability to heal. That — combined with the nerves that run closely through your spine — is why degenerative disc disease may become painful.

People more at risk for degenerative disc disease include those who are overweight, smoke, demonstrate a lack of exercise, or complete intense physical work regularly.

Signs & Symptoms Of Degenerative Disc Disease

Here are several common signs and symptoms that may indicate you have degenerative disc disease:

  • Numbness, tingling, weakness in the arms and legs
  • Pain that seems worse first thing in the morning
  • Pain that seems worse after staying in a position for a long time
  • Pain that seems worse after sitting, bending, or reaching
  • Pain in the lower back, buttocks, or legs

Degenerative disc disease does not just happen in the spine. It can also happen in the neck. If it does, you may be noticing pain in the neck, arm, and/or shoulder.

DDD can be diagnosed through imaging.

Can Physical Therapy Help Degenerative Disc Disease?

Yes! Physical therapy can help degenerative disc disease in the following ways:

  • PT can teach you how to strengthen your core to take some pressure off of your spine and help reduce pain.

[Related article: 3 Stretches For Lower Back Pain]

  • A physical therapist can show you safe ways to exercise to reduce weight if being overweight has been a contributing factor.
  • A physical therapist can perform manual therapy to help alleviate points of pain from joints and muscles.
  • Your physical therapist can teach you about body mechanics and how you can move differently to help alleviate your pain.

If left untreated, this condition may worsen or your pain may be recurring. Our physical therapists can help tailor a program that is right for you and help to lessen the effects of DDD on your body and help to alleviate pain. 

To get started, contact us today.

stay safe in the desert summer

Tips To Stay Safe In The Desert Summer Heat

Tips To Stay Safe In The Desert Summer Heat

Does summer feel like it is dragging on? Are you getting cabin fever? Are you tired of not being able to go outside and enjoy your favorite outdoor activities?

The dangers of the Arizona summer desert heat are real and keeping your entire family safe (including your pets!) this summer is important.

Effects of heat exhaustion and/or heat stroke can be dangerous. However, there are several things you can do to help everyone in your family stay safe in the desert summer this season.

Of course, stay inside as much as you can to stay out of the heat and stay cool, but also follow these tips to help everyone in your family stay healthy and safe this summer.

3 Tips To Stay Safe In The Desert Summer Heat

Stay hydrated

Staying hydrated can mean more than just drinking water. There are some foods that can help you stay hydrated as well. Try watermelon, cucumber, coconut water or other foods that help you stay hydrated.

Go out early or late

Run errands early in the day or late at night. If you must go out, try to go early or late — not in the heat of the day.

Clothing matters

Wear light-colored that isn’t tight, but fits loosely around you. This will go a long way in helping to keep you cool.

Also remember to keep your pets out of the heat, keep them cool and keep them hydrated too. They are important members of the family!

The entire staff at Contact Physical Therapy is here to help with the health of your entire family. If there is more than just the desert summer heat keeping you indoors — such as injury or surgery recovery — and keeping you from enjoying your favorite activities, contact the team at Contact Physical Therapy

Our physical therapists can help tailor a program that is right for you and get you back to living the life you love. To get started, contact us today.

stretches for lower back pain

Three Stretches For Lower Back Pain

Stretches For Lower Back Pain

Lower back pain is one of the most common complaints from patients. Almost all Americans will experience it in their lifetimes. In fact, statistics show up to 80% will experience it at some point in life.

It does not have to be something that you live with. Depending on the cause, you may benefit from physical therapy to help alleviate your lower back symptoms and pain. In the meantime, some gentle stretching at home may also help. Here are three stretches for lower back pain.

Three Stretches For Lower Back Pain

Knee to Chest

Begin this exercise by lying on your back on the floor with your legs extended and your arms on the floor at your side. Next, bend your left knee so that your left foot is flat on the ground next to your right knee. Wrap your hand around your left knee and slowly bring it in toward your chest. Hold for 30 seconds to one minute and then gently release. Repeat the same on the other side. Complete this stretch for each leg three times or as recommended by your physical therapist.

[Related article: Sciatica Pain and What To Do About It]

Forward Bend

Begin this exercise sitting on the ground with your legs extended straight out in front of you. Use an exercise band (or towel) to help you reach forward and wrap the band around the soles of your feet and grab the band on each side. This will support you as you then gently bend forward with the goal of putting your forehead toward your knees. Keep your back as straight as possible. Do not go to the point of pain. You should just feel a gentle stretch. Hold for 30 seconds and after a brief rest, repeat several times or as recommended by your physical therapist.

Child’s Pose

If you are a fan of yoga, you are probably familiar with child’s pose. Begin this pose on the floor on your hands and knees. Gently sit back, placing your glutes on your heels. Then, bend forward at the hips, extending your palms and arms straight out on the ground in front of you. Your forehead should be touching the ground and your torso should be resting on your thighs. Hold this pose for as long as you would like, although one minute is recommended.

Whether it is these stretches for lower back pain or others, the physical therapists at Contact Physical Therapy can help tailor a program that is right for you to help alleviate your lower back pain.

To get started, contact us today.

physical therapy after a car accident

3 Reasons To Consider Physical Therapy After A Car Accident

Did you know that physical therapy after a car accident can help you in many ways? The pain that you can be left with after a car accident can be long-lasting, especially if your body doesn’t have the chance to heal properly after the accident.

Injuries from car accidents are not always apparent right away. Some of them are such as whiplash, neck or back pain may be noticeable. However, others like chronic headaches or head trauma can stay with you for a long time. 

[Related article: Physical Therapy For Concussion Recovery]

The good news is that a physical therapist can aid in your recovery after you have been injured. Here are three reasons to visit your physical therapist after a car accident.

3 Reasons To Consider Physical Therapy After A Car Accident

Reduced Pain

A physical therapist is a trained expert when it comes to neck pain, back pain and more. Their modalities include manual therapy, and can help alleviate the pain from common car accident injuries.

Safer Healing

Car accident pain can lead to chronic pain. It can also lead to the use of painkillers and put you in a position to suffer for years. Your physical therapist can show you ways of managing the pain without the use of drugs that might otherwise become addicting. It is a safer way to heal.

Regain Function

Physical therapy focuses on increasing range of motion, rebuilding strength, and allowing you to function and be mobile again like you once were. If your physical abilities have been compromised due to the car accident, physical therapy can help you gain those back.

Physical therapy after a car accident can be an effective way to treat many injuries and the pain that comes along with what happened. Reach out to the physical therapists at Contact Physical Therapy to get on the road to healing from car accident injuries.

To get started, contact us today.

Home Remedies To Alleviate A Stiff Neck

Home Remedies To Alleviate A Stiff Neck

Did you wake up with a stiff neck? Is your neck sore or is it not moving as easily as it once did? If so, you will be glad to know that there are simple home remedies that can help you to alleviate your pain. If you find that is not enough, a physical therapist at Contact Physical Therapy can also help show you ways to alleviate the pain that accompanies your condition.

Sometimes getting a stiff neck is as simple as sleeping on it wrong. Maybe you woke up with it. Or, worse yet, maybe you did something to injure your neck that immediately caused the pain. Stiff neck symptoms are characterized by: 

  • inability to turn neck all the way and/or without pain
  • having to turn the whole body to look to the side
  • may be accompanied by headaches, neck or shoulder pain and/or possibly arm pain
  • may be accompanied by pain when turning the neck

The main cause of a stiff neck is typically a strained muscle or soft tissue sprain. A stiff neck usually lasts up to 7 days, but what you do can determine if it stays away once it goes away. You can also do some things to help minimize your pain while you recover. The good news is that a physical therapist or some simple at home remedies may be able to help.

Home Remedies To Alleviate A Stiff Neck

  • Rest: rest for a couple days, but not longer than 1-2 so that your muscles don’t become weakened
  • Cold therapy: apply ice for the first 1-2 days to help get inflammation down
  • Heat therapy: use heat to instigate blood flow to the area to promote healing
  • Stretching: ask your physical therapist to show you some gentle stretches that can be done to help alleviate the pain and stiffness that comes along with a stiff neck
  • Get out and walk: walking can get blood and oxygen circulating throughout the body and can help to ease your condition.

If your stiff neck lasts more than a week or if you have more severe symptoms along with it (fever, nausea, vomiting) visit a doctor as these could be signs of a more serious condition.

Whether it is some simple stretching techniques to help alleviate the pain associated with a stiff neck or recover from another injury, the physical therapists at Contact Physical Therapy can help tailor a program that is right for you. 

To get started, contact us today.

sciatica pain

Sciatica Pain and What To Do About It

The sciatic nerve runs from the lower back to the buttocks down to the leg. Sciatica is pain that you feel along this area when something isn’t functioning properly. This could be compression of the nerve and/or the sciatic nerve being irritated.

Sciatica is not a diagnosis, but it is a description of the pain. If you have had it, you will recognize it immediately. It can be unbearable at times. The good news is that by working with a physical therapist at Contact Physical Therapy, you may be able to see relief from sciatica pain.

Ways To Relieve Sciatica Pain

A physical therapist may work with you in several different ways to help you overcome your sciatica pain. This could be through exercising, stretches, strengthening, and more.

Exercises

Exercises such as low impact aerobics might be a good way to help overcome your sciatica pain. Also pool therapy may help.

Stretches

One huge way to overcome your sciatica pain is through stretching. There are specific stretches that your physical therapist can recommend to help you relieve your pain. Stretching may focus on the hamstrings.

Strengthening

Completing strengthening exercises for the supporting structures of your body (the spine, muscles, ligaments, and tendons supporting the back) can help to provide pain relief as well. Your physical therapist will recommend strengthening exercises to help you overcome your pain.

[Related article: Elements For Physical Therapy Success]

More Ways To Relieve Sciatica Pain

What are some other things you can do to help relieve your sciatica pain? Although you may be tempted to rest when you are experiencing this pain, physical therapists recommend not resting for more than a day or two because it could add to your pain. Instead, after a brief period of rest, keep moving to aid your body in healing.

Physical therapy can be effective in helping to treat sciatica pain. A physical therapist at Contact Physical Therapy can help tailor a program that is right for you.

To get started, contact us today.

balance problems

How Physical Therapy Can Help Balance Problems

If you or someone you love is experiencing balance problems, did you know that physical therapy may be able to help? If you are finding it difficult to perform simple tasks such as standing, walking, or sitting, if you find yourself swaying or have difficulty staying stable or upright, you may be experiencing balance problems.

If you are over the age of 70, your chances can be as high as 75% of having balance that isn’t normal. This can be caused by aging, among other things, including problems with the muscles, joints, or inner ear. Sometimes medications can cause the problem, or if you are not active enough, it can be a factor as well.

Medical conditions may also cause balance problems. From diabetes and arthritis, to multiple sclerosis, stroke, and Parkinson’s disease — all of these can cause issues with your balance.

Symptoms of Balance Problems

If you are wondering if your problems might be related to balance, here is what to look for: falling, stumbling, dizziness, tripping, and swaying are all indications that you may have a balance problem.

The good news is that by working with a physical therapist at Contact Physical Therapy, your balance problems may improve. A physical therapist can work with you to help you improve your balance and reduce your risk of falling. This is so important, especially as we age because falling carries the risk of injuring yourself as well.

[Related article: Goals of Physical Therapy]

Your physical therapist can help you improve strength, mobility, flexibility and posture. All of these things will help you to overcome any issues you may be experiencing with your balance.

The best way to deal with balance problems is to do everything you can to prevent them from happening in the first place. Physical therapists recommend staying active and mobile and avoiding a sedentary lifestyle to prevent balance issues. If you have fallen, be sure to talk to your doctor or physical therapist so that he or she can begin to assess your condition and help to determine what caused the fall and prevent it from happening again, thus preventing further injury.

Since some balance problems can be caused by eye and ear conditions, have your vision and hearing checked regularly to help prevent balance problems as well.

Physical therapy can be effective in helping to treat balance problems. A physical therapist at Contact Physical Therapy can help tailor a program that is right for you.

To learn more, contact us today.