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Relief Through Rehabilitation: Physical Therapy for Lower Back Pain


Lower back pain is the most common musculoskeletal complaint seen by doctors and other medical practitioners, and will affect most people at some point in their lives. Low back pain can be extremely debilitating and have a large impact on the quality of people’s lives. Physical therapy is one approach that can help alleviate your pain, regain your mobility, and improve your overall well-being.

What is Physical Therapy for Lower Back Pain?

Physical therapy is a personalized, evidence-based approach to treating lower back pain. It involves a range of techniques and exercises to address pain, improve strength, flexibility, movement quality and and prevent future issues. Through the guidance of a skilled physical therapist, you can regain control over your life and experience lasting relief.

Lower Back Pain Causes

Understanding the causes of lower back pain is crucial for effective treatment. Physical therapists perform a detailed subjective interview and physical assessment to identify the likely structural cause of the issue (if appropriate) and the likely cause(s) of the problem. These causes may be activity loads, lifestyle factors, biomechanics (weakness, tightness etc. in certain areas), psychological factors, just to name a few. If you are interested in learning more about all the different types of loads that may contribute to pain, check out the following podcast episode: LP Extrasode - Injury Edition: The Fundamental Concept of Load. The treatment process then works towards re-engineering the causes to get to the root of the problem.

Benefits of Physical Therapy

The physical therapy process starts with solid education, both in regards to the specific condition, but also to gain a basic understanding of pain processes and the importance of general health factors. Hands on Manual therapy modalities (massage, joint mobilisation) may be used in the initial stages to help address pain, and your physical therapist may also teach self treatment techniques to give you tools to aid with your symptoms at home. 

Customized Treatment Plans

A rehabilitative exercise program should be specific to the individual and address the factors found to be contributing to the problem.

Prevention of Current Pain

While acute lower back pain is quite common and will usually settle within a reasonable time frame, when symptoms persist there is the risk of the issue becoming a chronic one. Because of this, it is important to see your rehabilitation process through to the end and discuss with your physical therapist strategies, modifications and maintenance exercises to help decrease the likelihood of chronicity.

When to Seek Professional Help

If you have suffered an episode of lower back pain or if you are dealing with persistent pain in the area, seeing a physical therapist could be the key to making a full recovery and getting your life back on track. 

If you are interested in understanding more fully how we go about managing lower back pain, Sam took a deep dive into this topic on the Tokyo Living Podcast last year. Check out the episode here:

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