Lower Back Physical Therapy

physical therapist can pinpoint the problem and design an individualized stretching and exercise program that targets specific Lower Back muscles.

Lower Back Physical Therapy

At one point or another 80 percent of us will experience a bout of significant back pain in our lives.  While two-thirds of those with back pain are unable confidently identify the reason for their pain there are steps we can take to resolve our complaints should they arise.

Common Causes of Lower Back Pain

Disc Herniation

Herniated, bulging, compressed, ruptured, slipped. These are the many names for this condition caused by worn-down, degenerated vertebral cushioning. This naturally occurs when the cushioning between vertebral discs leaks out and irritates nerves.

Common Causes of Disc Herniation:

  • Age-related wear and tear
  • Repetitive, spine-stressing activity (especially lifting, bending, twisting)
  • Smoking, excess weight and sedentary lifestyle
  • Sudden injury

Common Signs and Symptoms of Disc Herniation:

  • Numbness and tingling (often radiating into the upper or lower extremities)
  • Pain (local and often radiating into the upper or lower extremities)
  • Weakness
  • Stiffness
Degenerative Disc Disease

Degenerative disc disease is when the cushiony discs between the vertebrae of the spine deteriorate. Without cushioning, the spine experiences additional pressure, causing mild, moderate or severe pain.

Common Causes of Degenerative Disc Disease:

  • Aging
  • Genetics/heredity
  • Injury
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Trauma

Common Signs and Symptoms of Degenerative Disc Disease:

  • Weakness in either the upper or lower extremities
  • Numbness / tingling
  • Pain
    • Especially low back, buttocks, thighs, neck, and upper extremities
  • Worsens with sitting, bending, lifting, twisting
  • Improves with walking, changing positions, lying down
Sciatica

Sudden, sometimes debilitating pain that starts in the low back and radiates down the leg is a telltale sign of sciatica. Sciatica is a condition in which the nerve that runs from the lower back, through the buttocks and down the leg becomes inflamed or irritated.

Common Causes of Sciatica:

  • Arthritis
  • Herniated disc
  • Fracture
  • Injury
  • Spinal Stenosis
  • Spondylolisthesis

Common Signs and Symptoms of Sciatica:

  • Numbness and tingling (often radiating into the upper or lower extremities)
  • Pain (local and often radiating into the upper or lower extremities)
  • Weakness
  • Stiffness
Sacroiliac (SI) Joint Dysfunction

Regional aching and pain in the area between the spine and the buttock can be due to sacroiliac joint inflammation. Often localized to one side of the spine, this form of back pain is often the result of misalignment and instability.

Common Causes of SI Joint Dysfunction:

  • Pregnancy
  • Trauma
  • Leg length discrepancy
  • Gait abnormality

Common Signs and Symptoms of SI Joint Dysfunction:

  • One sided pain in the region between the low back and buttock
  • Tenderness to the region of pelvis below the lower back
  • Aching
  • Stiffness
Spinal Stenosis

This condition causes a narrowing of the spine one of three places: the center space, the nerve branch canals or the space between the bones of the spine. This narrowing puts pressure on the spinal cord and nerves, causing a great deal of pain.

Common Causes of Spinal Stenosis:

  • Aging
  • Arthritis
  • Genetics
  • Injuries
  • Scoliosis
  • Tumors

Common Signs and Symptoms of Spinal Stenosis:

  • Cramping
  • Numbness
  • Pain (especially neck, back and radiating down leg)
  • Weakness
Spondylolysis

When teen or adolescent athletes complain of low back pain, the culprit could be a tiny crack or stress fracture in one of the vertebrae. This condition, called spondylolysis and generally improves with rest and rehabilitation.

Common Causes of Spondylolysis:

  • Genetics/heredity
  • Repetitive bending and straightening
  • Sports injuries (especially football, diving, gymnastics)

Common Signs and Symptoms of Spondylolysis:

  • At times, no obvious symptoms.
  • Feeling of strained muscle
  • Low back pain ranging from sharp to dull ache
  • Pain aggravated by bending and straightening
Spondylosis

This degenerative disorder may range from mild to severe, causing little (or much) disruption to daily activity. It affects the neck (cervical), mid-back (thoracic) and low-back (lumbar) spinal regions, and possibly discs and facet joints.

Common Causes of Spondylosis:

  • Age
  • Bone spurs
  • Disc dehydration
  • Herniated discs

Common Signs and Symptoms of Spondylosis:

  • Numbness
  • Pain
  • Weakness
Scoliosis

Having an “S” or “C” curve in the back is one apparent symptom of a medical condition called scoliosis. This abnormal curvature of the spine can affect anyone at any age, although it is more prevalent in girls than boys.

Common Causes of Scoliosis:

  • Unknown, possibly hereditary
  • Often more pronounced with age especially in women
  • May be secondary to other neuromuscular conditions:
    • Cerebral palsy
    • Muscular dystrophy
    • Spina bifida

Common Signs and Symptoms of Scoliosis:

  • Asymmetrical, elevated hip
  • Distinct sideways lean
  • Noticeable hump
  • Protruding, asymmetrical shoulder blades
  • Uneven shoulder or waist line
Whiplash

Although people may joke about this condition in response to a mild injury, whiplash is a real condition. It occurs when soft tissues of the neck are strained or sprained, usually as a result of sudden forward or backward motion.

Common Causes of Whiplash:

  • Motor vehicle accidents (especially rear-end collision)
  • Acute injury (falls or sudden force to the head or neck)

Common Signs and Symptoms of Whiplash:

  • Pain

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