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Discomfort interrupting workouts, sleep and work?

By: Jason Makoutz, DPT

Q&A

  • How does back pain usually start?

Many times back pain starts from a specific incident where you overexerted yourself, lifted something improperly, performed more of an activity than you were used to, sitting/standing more prolonged amount of time, or a traumatic incident. Often times it is a combination of several of these things. Sometimes it doesn’t hurt right away, but may begin to bother you several days later.

  • What are they symptoms and impacts on daily living?

The symptoms may start very minor. It may start as a twinge, ache, or spasm in your back that you may write off and not think much. The symptoms may progress fast or slow. Usually the ache or pain becomes more constant and noticeable. Often times if will affect how you go about your day without you noticing. You may not bend over to pick something up off the ground. You may start avoiding certain activities like playing with you children or enjoying sports with your friends. You may notice that at work you are only able to sit for a couple minutes before you have to get up and move. Many times most people are not aware of how greatly a small pain in their back has affected their daily life and wait too long to seek help.

  • How does a back problem progress to a bigger issue?

Back pain will often times just start as pain and over time you will begin altering the way you walk, bend over, go of stairs, pick up items. It will be gradual and you may not even see the impact on your life, but as you continue to compensate for the pain you will be putting greater abnormal stress on other joints in your body leading to further pain and debilitation. If your back pain causing radicular nerve pain and is left unaddressed it can lead to surgery. If it continues to be neglected the nerve may become so compressed it becomes permanently damaged and unable to be heal, which will lead to permanent loss of motion and strength. Don’t take a small pain lightly get it addressed so it doesn’t lead to permanent nerve or muscle damage.

  • How can PT help?

Physical Therapy is a great conservative method to treat back pain. Its one of the most common pathologies we treat. Many times a specific graded exercise program of glute and core strength along with some hands on technique is all it will take to get you back to your everyday activities. If you are experiencing radicular symptoms along with your back pain and evaluation performed by a Doctor of Physical Therapy is performed in order to determine your positional preference and how to alleviate pressure off the nerve to decrease pain to help you return to your everyday life pain free.

Jason’s Personal Back Pain Story

I have personally dealt with chronic back issues since I was 8-years-old. My mom tells me stories about me laying on the hardwood floor trying to find some relief for my pain. Being stubborn, I never did anything to address it. I’d experience sleepless nights and often say ‘no’ to activities I wanted to do because I knew it’d cause me pain. After learning more about back pain and how to treat it in Physical Therapy School, I decided to finally figure out what was causing my pain and how to resolve it. Though it was not an easy process, I was able to figure out what was causing my pain and went through Physical Therapy myself and I no longer have unrelenting pain. It’s the first time in my life that I can remember that I have days without pain. Looking back now I have no idea why I waited so long and wish I had sought an answer earlier.

If you or someone you know has experienced or is currently experiencing any of these issues or just have generally achiness/pain in your back call our office today at 703-450-4300. We can evaluate you and determine what steps you need to take to return back to your pain free life!

CLICK HERE for more on how physical therapy can help you.

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