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The Role of Physical Therapy in Recovering from Back Injuries

Home News & Videos Back Conditions The Role of Physical Therapy in Recovering from Back Injuries

Back injuries, which may happen suddenly from acute spine trauma or develop over time, are a major contributor to lost work hours. For athletes, back injuries unfortunately mean being relegated to the sidelines.

However, you don’t just have to endure back pain: You can take your recovery into your own hands. At JAG Physical Therapy, our PT staff use all their compassion and expertise to help our patients rehabilitate from back injuries quickly and effectively. Schedule your appointment today to start relieving your back pain, or read on to learn more about how we treat back injuries with varied PT techniques. 

How Can Physical Therapy Help in Recovering from Back Injuries?

Imagine you have a back injury brought on by twisting while picking up a heavy item at work. Your physical therapist might focus on exercises to improve your core strength, such as abdominal work to support your back. They may use manual therapy to relieve soreness, and a variety of other methods of spine rehabilitation, depending on the source of your back pain. They will also review proper lifting forms to prevent harmful lifting and show you how to use your legs to aid in lifting.

Lifting techniques are a common part of ergonomics — how physical work relates to you as an individual. Particularly with back injuries caused by lifting, repetitive motion, driving, or even desk work, physical therapists strive to correct positions or equipment that contribute to injury.

You might need help learning to sit, stand, or move in a different way. Individuals with scoliosis, for example, can benefit from the Schroth method to improve their posture. Your PT may also suggest using something like a lumbar support pillow when driving a truck or repositioning equipment at work to reduce constant bending or overreaching.

What Are the Benefits of Physical Therapy for Back Pain?

There are multiple advantages to choosing physical therapy for back pain and injuries:

  • Reduced inflammation and pain
  • Increased strength
  • Greater flexibility and range of motion
  • Ability to return to normal activities
  • Improved quality of life
  • Prevention of future injuries

But there are two more benefits to physical therapy you should definitely consider, especially if you have chronic back pain from an old injury or a serious injury with a long road to recovery.

First, physical therapy for back injuries can allow patients to avoid surgery. Virtually everyone would rather attend PT sessions and do the recommended therapy than have to undergo an operation.

Second, physical therapy can be effective quickly at reducing pain. Patients who maintain the right PT routine can reduce or discontinue the use of medication and easily transition back into their pain-free daily routine.

Physical therapy offers relief for back pain caused by a variety of conditions:

Can Physical Therapy Help Athletes Recover from Back Injuries?

Athletes have long known the tremendous power of physical therapy for back injury recovery. In fact, some return to training and competition even stronger and more agile than they were prior to their injuries. Not only are they in better condition, but they are also armed with knowledge about how to improve their form to prevent future back injuries.

One key to providing better back support to avoid repeat back injuries in athletes is improving overall core strength. This takes the pressure off the back alone and distributes it to strong muscles in the abdomen, buttocks, and thighs. Some common exercises used in PT by individuals from football players to ballet dancers include:

  • Crunches and reverse crunches
  • Mat exercises using an inflatable Swiss ball
  • Pelvic tilts
  • Bird dog pose (on knees with opposite arm and leg extended)
  • Planks

For sports that involve twisting, like golf, tennis, and baseball, different specific core strengthening and stretching exercises are often recommended, such as:

  • Glute bridges – lying on your back with your knees bent and feet flat, then raising the hips to make a bridge shape
  • Piriformis stretch – lying on your back with one foot flat on the floor and the other leg crossed over that knee to form a figure-4
  • Hip flexor stretch – half kneeling and pressing forward to stretch the front of the back leg
  • Thoracic rotations – lying on your back, opening one arm to the side while twisting your bent legs in the opposite direction

A physical therapy routine can be customized to any athletic activity, whether you play a team sport, ride horses, enjoy long-distance running, or pursue any other sport.

Schedule an Appointment with JAG Physical Therapy

JAG PT offers the best in physical therapy treatment for back pain and many other musculoskeletal conditions across New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. Book an appointment with us today, or contact us for more information on our back injury treatment program.

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