What is the goal of the Back Pain and Spine Therapy?
The goal is to educate patients about their diagnosis and teach them how to apply progressive therapy and exercise (including strength training, stretching and cardiovascular activity) in order to increase their strength, flexibility and function. The ultimate goal is to promote a continuous, independent exercise program.
When will my pain go away?
In many cases patients experience pain due to tight muscles that are weak, guarded and / or lack endurance. In other cases, pain may come from nerve roots that are irritated due to pressure from swelling, discs, decreased joint space, etc. Patients may continue to have pain before, during and after therapy due to their anatomy, but in most cases their endurance, strength, and flexibility will increase. This helps patients function better and become less focused on pain and more focused on quality of life. Your MD typically prescribes a 4-8 week program.
I would normally avoid activities that hurt me. Is this a safe program?
It is normal to avoid activities that would increase symptoms; however, this lack of exercise often contributes to tighter and weaker muscles that negatively impact quality of life. Back Pain and Spine Therapy exercises are safe to do; however, it is not uncommon to feel sore after stretching and exercising.
Do I really need to stretch several times a day?
Yes, stretching once a day is usually not enough to increase one’s flexibility. Stretching needs to be done consistently and compliantly in order to increase flexibility which clinical data shows reduces pain. A specific plan regarding frequency will be given at evaluation and upon discharge from therapy.
Is it normal to feel worse before feeling better?
Yes. The program is designed to increase cardiovascular endurance, stretch muscles, and strengthen muscles – which can be uncomfortable initially but usually improves with time. The increased flexibility can take stress off of these tissues, which will allow you to have more freedom of movement.
Should I come to therapy if I am sore or having a bad day?
Yes, it is not uncommon to feel the effects of exercise later that day or the following day. Icing, stretching and light walking usually help loosen up tight, swollen muscle and joints. Patients usually feel better once they start moving normally again.
After the Back Pain and Spine Therapy program ends, what happens next?
Toward the end of your therapy program, you will be given detailed instructions about how to continue with an exercise program that can be done at home or in a gym. This will include specific weights, machines and exercises.
Why treat neck and back injuries with ice versus heat?
Swelling and inflammation contribute to decreased joint space, which causes nerve root irritation and pain. Heat usually feels good short term, however, it can also cause blood vessels and tissues to dilate, making swelling worse. Ice reduces the size of capillaries and thereby helps reduce swelling.