Physical therapy for back pain: Can it really keep surgery at bay?

Research estimates that 8 out of 10 people in the U.S. experience back pain in their lifetime at least once. With that number in mind, it’s safe to say that back pain is a common experience. In some cases, back pain can become so severe that surgery or other treatments are considered to get some sort of relief from this pain. Should you consider surgery? Is physical therapy a better alternative? Can PT keep the need for surgery away? Learn the answers to these questions and more in the following sections.

What conditions can cause back pain that may need treatment?

There are a range of conditions that can cause back pain and ultimately require treatment. Some of these include spinal stenosis, pinched nerves and osteoarthritis. There are many more that could become painful and require treatment.

What can physical therapy do for someone with back pain that surgery can’t?

Why should you choose physical therapy for back pain? What can PT do for someone that surgery can’t do? Here are two of the biggest differences between physical therapy and surgery for back pain:

  • The risk of complications is lowerResearch has found that physical therapy for lower back pain resulted in significantly fewer complications than surgery for lower back pain did. Physical therapy patients experienced complications at a rate of 10% as opposed to the surgery group, who experienced complications at a rate of 25%.
  • PT often offers the same level of effectiveness as surgeryThe same study also found that physical therapy can provide the same level of effectiveness as surgery. If you think you might need surgery for your back pain, you may benefit from choosing physical therapy instead.

Can physical therapy for back pain keep surgery at bay?

Physical therapy can often reduce a patient’s need for surgery. This may not apply in every situation, as some people need more immediate and aggressive treatment for their condition. However, physical therapy is a highly effective treatment method that can benefit back pain in a number of ways. Its effects may even be more positive than surgery in many instances. Wondering how physical therapy for back pain can specifically keep surgery at bay? Take a look at some of the ways listed below:

  • Managing pain — PT has the capability to reduce pain, swelling and inflammation in the back. When you go to PT for your back pain, the need for surgery typically lessens. If chronic back pain is what you’re dealing with, your physical therapist can teach you how to manage your pain. 
  • Improving range of motion — Physical therapy can also help reduce the need for surgery because it can improve your back’s range of motion. If you’re experiencing stiffness and tightness in your back that is causing you more discomfort or pain than you’re comfortable with, PT can address it. Exercise and gentle stretching can improve flexibility and make moving easier than before.
  • Relieving nerve compression — If your back pain is rooted in nerve compression, physical therapy can help reduce some of the pressure being placed on your nerve. Pinched nerves can be caused by poor posture, muscle tension and several other factors. PT has the ability to help correct posture, reduce muscle tension and address whatever else might be contributing to your nerve pain.

Let Lattimore PT help you get the right physical therapy care for your lower back pain so you can avoid surgery

Lattimore Physical Therapy & Sports Rehabilitation Network first got its start in 1992. John and Cindy Shuman, husband and wife, first launched their own physical therapy practice with the aim to improve the quality of life of each member of their community. Since 1992, Lattimore PT has opened nearly 30 locations across New York.

Our team of talented physical therapists across the state is dedicated to understanding the best treatment for you. We specialize in taking a “hands-on,” interactive approach with each of our patients to provide them with the best care possible. We love to see our patients thrive, which is why we’ll do as much as we can to help get them to that point. The physical therapists at each of our Lattimore locations take pride in their work and do their best to come to the clinic each day with a smiling face. We aim to make each physical therapy session enjoyable yet productive. The ultimate mark of success, to us, is a patient who feels positively impacted by our work. Are you ready to experience “the Lattimore way”?

We can guide you through managing your back pain so that your symptoms can improve. If your back pain is interfering with your daily activities, we urge you to consider physical therapy with us before getting surgery. Don’t hesitate to seek the care you need to make your back feel better. Schedule a session with us today to get started on the path toward relief. 

Contact our team today for more information or to schedule an initial appointment.

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