When exploring treatment option for joint related pain and dysfunction, physical therapy is often the first choice for most doctors and patients. PT is a conservative way to manage certain conditions and avoid surgical intervention if possible. When given the option, most patients would prefer to treat their conditions conservatively. This form of treatment will require a significant changing treatment option. For therapy to be successful, we ask the patient to consider their current lifestyle and how they came upon their condition. No matter the cause, the patient will need to adopt new habits to manage or treat their condition conservatively.
Let’s explore low back pain for example. Most cases of low back pain can be treated conservatively with PT and possibly medication or injection therapy. But how did the patient get to this point? As therapists, we are here to help determine what factors may be contributing to your condition. In nearly all cases, it’s multi-factorial. We look at the patient’s current life-style, career choice, hobbies, body structure, eating habits, level of activity and current exercise routine, among many others. For PT to be truly successful, I believe the patient needs to be open minded and willing to “tweak” their current lifestyle in order to treat their condition successfully.
In many cases, I see individuals who are not exercising regularly. This seems to be a common factor in many cases of low back pain. It is somewhat uncomfortable for patients to hear that they will need to incorporate exercise and physical activity into their busy lives. For an individual who has never exercised, this can be difficult to digest. Most people want to be fixed as soon as possible and go back to how life was before the onset of pain. Again, we need to step back and look at how the patient got to this point. If we continue to participate in activities, or lack of activity, that contributed to the low back pain in the first place, then we are possibly looking at recurrent episodes of pain. This is when I tend to hear, “PT didn’t work for me.” Certainly our goal is to help people get back to their normal lives. We are just asking patients to make some small adjustments to not only treat the pain but also prevent it from returning.
One simple example of a small lifestyle adjustment is to adopt a home exercise program. With the help of your physical therapist, you can develop some simple core stabilizing exercises that will help maintain your current progress, or potentially contribute to improvements on your own. If you are dealing with low back pain, Contact Us Today to schedule an appointment to see one of our spine specialists. Our physical therapy department can help you look at different aspects of your life that might be contributing to low back pain. Together we can develop a plan of care that works for you.
About The Author: Jeremy W. Przybylo, PT, DPT, DMT is the Prairie Spine and Pain Institute’s lead physical therapist. He is a key component of our integrated care program. Jeremy works one-on-one with patients to perform an initial evaluation that allows him to design a comprehensive treatment program tailored to each individual. He typically works with patients weekly, utilizing a combination of hands on manual therapeutic techniques and a scientific approach to rehabilitative exercise.