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A Leading Cause People Miss Work

Neck Pain

Back pain is one of the leading reasons people go to the doctor and a leading reason employees miss work so it’s a very important topic to understand.

There are four main reason our back pain could have started:

  • Muscle strains due to heavy lifting or repetitive movements
    • Pain that you can pinpoint on the muscle and does NOT radiate down the legs
  • Arthritis: Narrowing of the space in the spine where nerves pass; excess bone that forms on the vertebrae; thinning of the discs between the vertebrae
  • Structural: Scoliosis is an example of a structural issue that involves the curvature of the spine which can gradually get worse and become painful
  • Bulging and herniated discs:
    • Pain that is felt in the legs and not necessarily in the back itself
    • As disc issues gets more severe symptoms can progress to numbness, tingling, and weakness
    • Bulging discs involve the outer layer of the disc protruding out in the space where the spinal cord is
    • Herniated discs involve the middle portion of the disc coming out into the space where the nerves are and causes compression.

Symptoms of back pain can include the following:

  • Muscle aches
  • Shooting and stabbing pain in the back or across the back
  • Pain that radiates down one or both legs
  • Numbness and tingling that can radiate down the legs
  • Pain that gets worse in specific positions such as sitting, standing, and/or walking

Back pain greatly impacts daily life from standard functions to an inability to perform recreational activities you enjoy. Staying in one position for too long can be painful which can start ti impact your ability to sleep. Normal, everyday activities like dressing and showering can be painful. As symptoms progress, you can start to develop weakness in the legs making using stairs and walking difficult. Recreational activities such as sports or exercise can also be difficult or even impossible because of pain.

Many of us have a wait and see attitude about pain and discomfort. Back pain is no exception. However, if back pain is not addressed, several things can happen.

    • New bowel or bladder issues
    • Have had a fall
    • Pain gets more intense either in the back and/or the legs which would then indicate severe nerve compression
    • New numbness and tingling in the legs that you didn’t have before
    • Knee buckling and/or foot drop which indicates severe nerve compression

How can physical therapy handle back pain for good? Physical therapy is a very effective treatment method for back pain. A physical therapist can determine the exact cause of your pain without the need for expensive MRIs or X-rays. We can give you exercises to reduce the pain by strengthening the core. We use our back muscles a lot throughout the day and often times, we are not using all the surrounding muscles in the core to help. Physical therapy will also focus on targeted stretches to loosen up tight muscles.

A physical therapist will also help you make modifications to your work station setup[ and teach you proper body mechanics when it comes to lifting techniques so you can prevent back pain from starting or getting worse. In addition, we will provide you with the correct home exercises that are properly progressed and given based on the presentation of your symptoms. Call Loudoun Sports Therapy Center TODAY at 703-450-4300 to start handling your back pain for good. CLICK HERE for more on how physical therapy can help you. 

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