Most people will experience back pain at some time in their life. Back pain can be localized to the spine, or can cause other problems such as leg pain or weakness, tingling or numbness into the legs or feet, or bowel or bladder problems.
Many factors can contribute to back pain, including:
- Poor posture or poor body mechanics with daily activities
- Wear and tear on the lumbar (low back) joints and discs
- Weakness of the abdominal, pelvic, hip or low back muscles
- Injury to the area (car accident, fall, lifting, etc.)
- Chronic tightness of low back, pelvic or hip muscles
- Poor spinal or pelvic alignment
- Lifestyle habits including smoking, weight, stress, etc.
To learn more about the various causes of back pain and dysfunction, refer to our Neurology Library’s Back Pain and Lumber Spine Disorders article.
Physical Therapy for Back Pain and Dysfunction
Minneapolis Clinic of Neurology physical therapists are highly skilled in the assessment and treatment of lower back conditions. Working with neurologists has provided our therapists the opportunity to develop exceptional skills in the treatment of spinal conditions in order to attain optimal patient outcomes. We start by thoroughly examining and identifying the factors causing the back pain and/or symptoms, in conjunction with your neurologist’s assessment. We then develop a rehabilitation plan of care to address the identified dysfunctions, improve the patient’s self-management of the condition, and meet the patient’s activity, work, and/or lifestyle goals.
Treatment approaches for back pain often include:
- Range of motion and stretching exercises for the low back, pelvis and legs
- Posture training, especially with work and daily activities
- Strengthening and stabilization exercises for your “core” – low back, abdominal, pelvic and hip muscles
- Manual therapy to low back. This may include joint mobilizations (moving low back vertebra or sacroiliac joints), traction (elongating the spine done either by therapist or machine), soft tissue mobilization to specific low back, gluteal, or hip muscles or other hands-on techniques to improve the mobility of muscles and joints
- Modalities, including ultrasound, electrical stimulation, heat or ice
- Education on lifestyle changes and self-management techniques
- Treatment of any other related problems aggravating the low back condition
Patients that are experiencing pelvic, bowel or bladder symptoms due to a lumbar spine condition are referred for treatment to our Pelvic Floor Dysfunction rehabilitation program.