Back1.com: Great Information, Real Community, Better Living.
 Register
 Login
 Main Page
 Back News
Feature Story
 Education Center
Conditions
Procedures
Diagnostics
Mary-Schatz-MD  Back
 Hero™

Mary Pullig Schatz, M.D.:
Healing Back Pain with Yoga.
About Heroes
 Join the Discussion in  Our Forums
 Community
Back1 Forums
Patient Stories
 Reference
Anatomy
Online Resources
Video Library
advertisement
Search the Body1 Network
April 11, 2021  
BACK NEWS: Feature Story

  • Printer Friendly Version
  • Email this Article
  • Links/Reprints
  • Treating Low Back Pain

    Treating Low Back Pain: Physical Therapy Versus Surgical Treatment


    August 06, 2003

    By Julia Yuo for Back1

    Low back pain can impose several inconveniences on the daily activities of your life. Left untreated, chronic low back pain can even deprive you of sleep. How do you treat low back pain? Non-invasive procedures and treatments are steadily increasing in popularity among the orthopedic community.

    It is estimated that over 80% of American workers from ages 30 to 50 suffer from back pain, causing reduced activity during their most productive years. When weighing the benefits and limitations of surgery versus physical therapy, you’ll be surprised to see an increasing trend toward non-invasive treatments for low back pain.

    Dr. Jerome McAndrews, spokesperson for the American Chiropractic Association estimates that there are 45,000 unnecessary lower back operations completed each year. According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS), most low back pain can be effectively treated without running the risks and inconveniences involved with surgery.

    Although back pain is extremely uncomfortable and painful, surgery does not always offer a quick fix or cure. In fact, back surgery can even worsen your condition, especially if the pain is isolated to just the back.

    However, in the case of nerve damage that causes compressive pain, surgery is sometimes the necessary route of action. Compressive pain occurs when nerve roots leaving the spine are irritated or pinched, often times a result of a herniated disk When these nerves are pinched, numbness, and even loss of reflex control in the lower legs are common symptoms. In the case of the cauda equina syndrome, a disk herniation can be so severe that sudden pressure on the nerves at high levels can cause involuntary bowel and bladder movements. Patients experiencing loss of bladder and bowel control should immediately contact their orthopedic physician.

    When persistent back pain coupled with pain, numbness, or weakness in the thigh, leg, or buttocks does not respond to non-operative treatment, patients may be referred to an orthopedic surgeon for evaluation.

    A discussion of your medical history, physical examination, and diagnostic tests using x-rays, MRIs (Magnetic Resonance Imaging), CAT (Computer Assisted Tomography) Scans, or myelograms may be part of your visit to an orthopedic surgeon. After a thorough examination and discussion about your back condition with your surgeon, and after all non-operative measures have been taken, surgical treatment as a last resort should be considered.

    Physical therapy and pain medication, however, are always recommended as the initial treatment. A physical therapist is an expert in the treatment of musculoskeletal and neuromuscular conditions that impede on your everyday activities. Your physical therapist can prescribe certain exercises to condition and strengthen the back to relieve pain and prevent injury. A large part of a physical therapist’s treatment focuses on preventing re-injury through strengthening. Treatment includes hot and cold packs, massages, and manipulation. Your physical therapist will also teach you exercises to condition and relax the muscles in your back to restore range of motion. Furthermore, good posture and lifting techniques are important habits to learn from your therapist.

    While bed rest may be prescribed along with some modifications to your daily activities, the AAOS has recognized that light activity can speed healing and recovery to low back pain. Additionally, weight loss if you are overweight, and quitting smoking may be recommended in accelerating the healing process.

    Last updated: 06-Aug-03

    Comments

  • Add Comment
  •    
    Interact on Back1

    Discuss this topic with others.
     
    Feature Archives

    Spinal Discs Provide a Window into our Evolutionary Past

    Anti-Clotting Treatment Not Needed in Most Pediatric Spine Surgeries

    Increase in Patients Age 80 and Older Undergoing Orthopaedic Surgery

    Young Athletes at Risk for Lower Back Injuries

    Longer daily wear of back braces is best to avoid surgery for adolescents with idiopathic scoliosis

    Next 5 Features ...

    More Features ...
       
     
    Related Multimedia

    Interview with Dr. Patel: What Should a Patient do to Prepare for Arthroscopic Surgery 5

    Interview with Dr. Patel: The Reasons for Back Pain and Diagnostic Methods

    Interview with Dr. Patel: The Role of Visco Supplement

    More Features ...
     
    Related Content
    Is Back Surgery Right For You?

    Advances in Spinal Cord Stimulation May Lead to More Effective Treatment for Back Pain

    Predicting Scoliosis Progression From 3D Imaging

    Nearly 30 Percent Of Women Fail To Pick Up New Prescriptions For Osteoporosis

    Patients With Low Back Pain Can Be Accurately Assessed Over the Internet

    More Features ...
     
    Home About Us Press Jobs Advertise With Us Contact Us
    advertisement
    © 2021 Body1 All rights reserved.
    Disclaimer: The information provided within this website is for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for consultation with your physician or healthcare provider. The opinions expressed herein are not necessarily those of the Owners and Sponsors of this site. By using this site you agree to indemnify, and hold the Owners and Sponsors harmless, from any disputes arising from content posted here-in.