Did you know that, after the common cold, the most common reason Americans miss work is back pain? Unfortunately, once you have experienced back strain or injury, it can easily become a recurring problem. Many cases of back strain are due to the way we live-sitting at desks all day, hunched over a computer, with little physical activity. Unless you implement lifestyle changes, the same muscles and ligaments that were initially injured keep repeating the same patterns, never allowing them to properly heal or be protected. Even worse, a recent study discovered that our natural inclination to avoid using sore or damaged muscles causes us to "compensate", using inappropriate muscle groups in ways that normally produce pain. For example, say you have a herniated disk in your lower back. You need to lift a heavy bag of groceries, but the way you'd normally do it would just be too painful with your injury. Instead, you use muscles in your abdomen and sides or other back muscles that are not meant for lifting. You lift the bag slowly, trying to be careful, but the slower you lift, the longer these "wrong" muscles have to work. By trying to protect your injury, you may have just given yourself additional back problems!
This is all too common for a lot of our clients at Restorative Physical Therapy. Since shortened, weak or inflexible muscles are often responsible for causing back injuries in the first place, our Physical Therapists will focus on increasing flexibility, balance and strength in the spine, and its surrounding muscles (especially in the core-or trunk-and the quadriceps).
The misconception for many is that you are able to design your own physical fitness program for yourself, but more often than not- you may do more harm than good. By going too far or too fast you can actually create more back strain. At Restorative Physical Therapy in Chesapeake, we will analyze the cause of your injury and the elements that you need to improve on. Our therapists use Integrative Manual Therapy to not only assess your back pain, but your whole body to find the source. Often with our clients, we find that although the pain is in your back, it is usually related to a issue somewhere else; this is why our "holistic" (or full body) approach is so great for so many. We have found that many of our clients have gone to countless hours of therapy without lasting results and then come to Restorative Physical Therapy to find steady progressed strength that can keep your back pain from coming back!