Back Injury

Back injuries are incredibly common; in fact, trips to the doctor for symptoms related to back injury are nearly as common as trips to the doctor for the common cold. Back pain can stem from an acute injury to the back, or may be associated with a more long-term injury or illness. There are many causes of back pain. The most common causes include muscle strains, disc or facet joint irritation, and sacroiliac dysfunction.

Unfortunately, the symptoms of all of these conditions can be very similar, which can make diagnosing and treating back pain challenging for many doctors. However, doctors of physical therapy can treat all types of back pain, effectively utilizing a variety of manual therapy techniques, exercises, and coaching.

Symptoms of Back Pain

Back pain, regardless of the underlying cause, can express itself in the body in a variety of ways. The most commonly reported symptoms of back pain include:

  • Pain or discomfort in the upper back or lower back
  • Stiffness along the spine
  • Sharp aches in the upper back or lower back
  • Soreness in the upper back or lower back
  • Muscle spasms
  • Difficulty maintaining one position

The symptoms of back pain are often not limited to the back. They can sometimes be felt in other areas of the body, including the arms and legs. It is also possible for symptoms, including pain, that stem from back problems to be felt in other areas of the body.

What a Hand Therapist Treats

Hand therapy is typically used to treat patients who have experienced a variety of disorders or injuries, including fractures, dislocations, strains, cuts and severed fingers or hands, as well as problems stemming from overuse. A hand therapist or doctor of physical therapy can also treat pinched nerves, nerve injuries, nerve pain, and arthritis or pain in the joints. Hand therapy may also be used in the treatment of adhesions from scarring, and recovery from surgery.

Possible Reasons for Back Pain

Just like the symptoms of back pain can vary from person to person and condition to condition, the underlying causes of back pain have tremendous variety as well. Among the most common causes of back pain are:

  • Muscle strain
  • Fracture
  • Broken bones
  • Scoliosis
  • Herniated disc
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Spondylolisthesis (slipped vertebrae)
  • Osteoporosis
  • Arthritic changes
  • Weak core and low back muscles
  • Poor sitting or standing posture

Your certified physical therapist or doctor of physical therapy will work with you to carefully evaluate your condition and to determine the full range of symptoms and causes of your back pain before drawing up a custom treatment plan.

Treatment for Back Pain

The treatment options for back pain depend heavily on what is discovered regarding the root cause of your back pain at your first physical therapy appointment. Other factors that go into your treatment plan include your symptoms and your personal goals for recovery. Your physical therapist can help you determine the best treatment options for your back pain. These options can include a wide variety of manual therapy techniques, as well as in-clinic and take home exercises, and training to help your body avoid re-injury or to work around your condition.