by Olivia Richardson
Back pain is estimated to affect up to 80% of the US population, and once you experience it there is a 90% chance future episodes will follow. The good news is that a thorough physical examination by your physical therapist or physician can determine the best course of management as well as identify the need for imaging or medication. A good physical therapist will identify the problem, teach you do’s and don’ts, and customize a treatment plan to correct or manage the problem. Evidence exists for early physical therapy being up to 60% more cost effective compared to delaying therapy and relying on rest, medication, or an inactive approach to care. Key point: Do not just wait for pain to go away, get help and learn how to take control of the problem!
There are certain times one may need medications, imaging or perhaps surgery, but the majority of back pain and sciatica will respond favorably to quality physical therapy. A recent study indicated premature spinal imaging may lead to a 2-3 fold increase in unnecessary surgery rates. Another popular study reported 40% of healthy adults with no history of back pain had positive disc bulges on MRI. Studies also indicate little difference in patients with low back pain who elect for surgery compared to non-surgical management of back pain at 2 year follow ups.
The message consumers should take home is to let clinical findings, degree of physical therapy progress, pain relief, functional improvement, and quality of life be the primary factors when determining whether medications, imaging, and surgery should be considered. In the small percentage of cases that therapy does not prove beneficial; the therapist can communicate the details of your therapy and problem to your physician.
Physical Therapy: The secret weapon for recovery
Many people do not realize they can go see their physical therapist without a referral (unless Medicare is the primary insurance). Private practice therapists are quickly becoming one of the preferred healthcare professionals for those seeking natural and effective alternatives for pain relief, strength, and mobility.
Carolina Physical Therapy Specialists is a private practice located in Kernersville providing patients easy access to innovative care. They are recognized as leaders in the area when evaluating and treating back pain, orthopedic problems, and sports injuries. Their system of care is highly effective and based on current research, successful patient outcomes, state of the art technology, clinical expertise, and advanced osteopathic “hands-on” training.
Lee Howard, the owner says, “We have the pleasure of spending more time with our patients compared to other healthcare providers. Since we are a specialty practice, we are able to deliver treatments that are not standard at other clinics.” By using specialized “hands-on” techniques, specific corrective exercises, Class 4 LASER, dry needling, and spinal traction, patients recovering from back pain typically experience quick results.
At Carolina Physical Therapy we want to “fix” the problem when we can, but more importantly we want our patients to know how to manage or remedy the problem without being dependent on us. We want them to keep moving, be active, and enjoy life to its fullest.
Carolina Physical Therapy Specialists is locally owned by Lee Howard, PhD, PT, ATC, LAT, CSCS. The Carolina PT philosophy is a progressive physical therapy model, delivered by a team of skilled therapists that Lee personally trains. Visit www.CarolinaPT.com or call 336-992-2787 to learn how they can help you.