Physical Therapy vs. Surgery

Why Physical Therapy is More Effective than Surgery to Alleviate Chronic Low Back Pain

At times, medical professionals recommend surgery in order to alleviate chronic low back pain. While they may have a valid reason for such a recommendation, some also fight for the fact that physical therapy is more effective than surgery in terms of pain relief. In fact, aside from working just as well, it comes with less unwanted complications.

Spinal stenosis refers to the narrowing of the space inside the lowest part of the spinal canal. As a result, the pressure is placed on the spinal cord, as well as the nerves that extend from the lumber vertebrae, or the five bones that are located between the rib cage and the pelvis which make up the lower part of the spine.

This condition usually comes as a result of the degeneration of ligaments, discs, or any joints between the interlocking vertebrae which form the spine. This may result in a painful, and potentially debilitating narrowing of the spinal canal.

Understanding Chronic Low Back Pain

Pain is a usual reaction to injury, including the pain of a cut, or even a fracture. However, low back pain is of a different type of pain. It can be persistent and intense, though it does not necessarily show the presence of an ongoing, serious injury. MRI and X-ray results usually do not represent the intensity of pain that is reported by a patient.

Different studies show that people who are experiencing more intense low back pain usually have better results in MRI compared to those who are experiencing less intense low back pain. Understanding this type of pain will help in identifying the kind of activities which are beneficial, as well as those that can be potentially dangerous.

What You Need to Know

As of 2016, Low Back Pain has contributed up to 57.6 million of the total number of years lived with disability. Guidelines for this condition recommend physical exercise, especially for non-specific low back pain. With this, early non-pharmacological treatment is recommended. This includes self-management and education, along with the recommencement of exercise and other normal activities. It is also recommended to add some psychological programs among people who show these symptoms.

The primary aim of these physical treatments is to enhance overall function while preventing disability from getting worse. One thing that needs to be understood is that there is no actual available evidence which shows that a specific type of exercise is better than another.

Symptoms and Surgery Recommendation

Among the usual symptoms of stenosis include pain in the groin area, upper thigh, and buttocks. Unlike the pain of sciatica, the pain does not move down with Spinal stenosis. Those who suffer from this condition also feel pain with walking or standing, which gets better if you squat or sit. Some also feel pain which feels worse as you lean back, becoming less intense when leaning forward.

A type of surgery which is referred to as laminectomy or decompression is oftentimes performed in order to ease the pain felt as a result of lumbar spinal stenosis. It helps in removing structures which are pressing right on the nerves, often contributing to its symptoms. Physical therapy, however, can also help in easing this kind of lower back pain.

How Physical Therapy Helps

If you consider yourself as having good physical health, while observing a regular routine for fitness, and do not feel the pain which radiates right into the legs, it is possible that your low back pain can be resolved without any need for treatment.

Physical therapy is the option that is recommended for individuals who are most likely at risk of developing a chronic back pain. Most often, this is for patients who are experiencing severe pain or symptoms of pain radiating into the legs which may also have tingling and numbness.

After ruling out any possible serious condition which may require instant medical intervention, a physical therapist will help in designing a treatment program which will improve structure impairments in the pelvis and spine, relieve pain, or modifies your existing pain experience, and bring you back to your normal activities as fast as possible.

Even though it could also be an option to stay in bed and just wait for the pain to subside, this has been shown as quite counterproductive to the body’s natural healing process. Rather, it is ideal to stay active, reducing or modifying your regular exercise routine as tolerated, allowing you to gradually return to your normal activities.

Exercises for Chronic Low Back Pain

At times, you may avoid a certain type of activities just because you are worried that you may feel pain in the end. One type of exercise that physical therapists use to help in overcoming fear is by performing the activities that you do not like gradually. This is usually referred to as graded activity exercises, which break down painful and burdensome activities into pain-free, smaller movements. This will encourage your musculoskeletal and nervous systems in order to create a new and positive idea about the activity.

After returning to your regular level of activity, it is very vital to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Chronic low back pain may be quickly resolved, though it still has the tendency to return in the long run, especially if you are not mindful enough. For those who have already experienced back pain often knows that being proactive can really mean a lot.

Things to Remember

One thing that needs to be understood is that while natural treatments are good, it is not enough, after returning to your previous activity level. Chronic low back pain may also be resolved quickly but may still return back if you fail to be careful.

Exercise is a very important factor to consider. Eat better to get all the nourishment for your body. Your posture helps a lot too. This should be done both when sitting and standing. You can also avoid lifting heavy objects, as you can ask for help whenever needed.