Your spine has a big job. It supports your entire body, connecting your skeletal system and facilitating all of your movement. When you experience pain in your back or neck that won’t go away, it can quickly begin interfering with your life and the activities you enjoy.
At Altru, our spine care specialists—including physicians, physical therapists, nurse practitioners and chiropractors— understand that freedom of movement is vital to a person’s overall well-being. We can work with you to identify the root cause of your back and neck pain and provide comprehensive spine treatment options that fit your lifestyle.
Neck pain can affect your quality of life in many ways. If you can’t sleep because of the pain, you won’t function as well when you’re awake. If you can’t work because of the pain, it can compromise your finances and job security. Additionally, neck pain can cause headaches and lead to pain elsewhere in your body, including your arms, shoulders and back.
Specialists at Altru can help relieve the pain in your neck that may be the result of a condition, including but not limited to:
- Cervical stenosis—The spinal cord compresses due to the spinal canal narrowing, leading to pain and numbness in the arms and legs.
- Disc degeneration—Wear and tear on the discs in the neck and spine cause the discs to lose cushioning, leading to pain and weakness.
- Pain after neck or back surgery
- Pain following injuries
- Poor posture
- Unspecified chronic pain
Three out of four people experience lower back pain during their lifetime. Although back pain is common, it shouldn’t be left untreated.
As with all types of therapies, the goal of back therapy is to use evidence-based methods to alleviate pain and restore back motion for individuals with acute or chronic back pain. Over a 12-month period, physical therapy for lower back pain has been proven to be more cost-effective than injection-based treatments or surgery, according to the American Physical Therapy Association.
Back therapy can help relieve pain that results from conditions, including:
- Herniated or bulging disc
- Muscle strain
- Spinal stenosis
- Myofascial pain syndrome—a chronic condition that causes localized pain that is associated with muscle trigger points
Evaluation, Treatment and Specialized Care Techniques for Neck and Back Pain
During your initial visit, a provider evaluates your condition and reviews your medical history. If it is determined that you could benefit from therapy on your neck or back, we outline treatment goals and develop a plan to help relieve your pain.
Neck or back therapy includes several components, all of which are individualized depending on your condition and age. In addition to other treatment modalities, most treatment plans can include the following:
- Application of heat or ice packs. Both heat and ice packs can improve mobility and alleviate pain. Ice is better to reduce swelling, while heat can improve stiffness.
- Electrical stimulation (TENS). Nerve stimulation safely uses electricity to relieve pain. TENS—transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation—sends low or high-frequency currents to your nerves to help with acute or long-term back pain.
- Exercises. Your provider may recommend exercises that improve your neck, back, shoulder and core strength.
- Low-impact aerobic conditioning. Aerobic exercise keeps your heart rate between 60% to 90% of its maximum rate for a duration between 15 minutes to one hour. Aerobic exercise conditioning can promote healing in patients with chronic neck pain and low back pain by improving flexibility and increasing blood flow to the soft tissues in the back and neck.
- Manual therapy. During manual therapy, your physical therapist applies force using their hands on your neck or back muscles while taking care to not push past the point of pain. These movements may help increase mobility, reduce pain and strengthen an injured back.
- Posture exercises. Slouching can impact your posture and lead to neck or back pain. Exercises to strengthen the muscles in your neck, back and core can help you to develop correct posture and reduce pain.
- Ultrasound. Ultrasound therapy uses sound waves as a resolution for lower back pain. During this therapy, a provider glides a small soundhead against your back. The soundwaves travel through the skin and into the tissues below, causing thermal and nonthermal effects.
- Stretching. Stretching can help patients manage neck or back pain. Your physical therapist guides you on a set of exercises that both stretch and strengthen your neck or back.
Are you experiencing neck or back pain? Spine care specialists at Altru can help. Call 701.780.5000 to schedule an appointment.