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Changing positions constantly because of a back muscle strain?

By: Alyssa Burke, PTA

Lower back problems are one of the most common complaints we encounter in physical therapy. The majority of adults will experience back pain at some point in their lifetime. The back pain they experience may only last a short time or it could linger for months. Back pain affects men and women equally and can even be seen in children and teenagers. There are many different structures that are at risk for injury in your back. Your back is made up of many components like your spine, which is made up of vertebrae, or the bones. There are jelly-like discs that cushion each vertebrae and act like shock absorbers. There are also many muscles, tendons, and ligaments that attach to these vertebrae.

What are the signs and symptoms of a back problem?

If you have a back injury, you may experience pain, which can range in frequency and intensity. You may have a constant dull ache or experience a sudden, sharp pain. The pain can begin abruptly or slowly get worse over time. You may also notice that you are not able to move or bend as well as you used to. Daily activities such as standing, walking and sitting may become difficult or you may find that you are unable to tolerate standing or being in a seated position for an extended period of time.

Will my back pain go away?

It is important to address back pain sooner rather than later. Many people believe that the pain they are experiencing will go away in a day or two, or they try to push through the pain. It’s never a good idea to try and push through or ignore pain, regardless of if it’s in your back or elsewhere. Pain is usually a red flag that something is wrong. If you neglect the signs your body is sending you or try to push through the pain, you could end up making your injury worse than it originally was. For example, if you have a strained or “pulled” muscle in your back and you decide to continue to perform activities that make it hurt more, you could end up making the strained muscle worse or more severe, tearing your muscle which could ultimately result in surgery. If you do try to ignore a muscle strain, it could cause you to move with compensations, or move in ways that put extra stress on joints and muscles that aren’t used to handling extra stress. This extra stress could cause more injuries to arise in muscles and joints above or below your original injury, only adding to your pain.

Is physical therapy the best next step?

Yes, physical therapy is a great, less invasive approach to healing and resolving back pain. We use a combination of strength exercises, hands-on techniques and body mechanic assessments to ensure correct muscle activation, good mechanics, and education to help decrease your pain and prevent re-injury. If you are experiencing back pain now or if you have in the past, call our office TODAY at 703-450-4300 and schedule an appointment.

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