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Does Physiotherapy Help Reduce Back Pain?

Written and reviewed by
Dr. Shantanu Kundgir 85% (96 ratings)
Orthopedic Doctor, Mumbai  •  15 years experience
Does Physiotherapy Help Reduce Back Pain?

Back pain is a common ailment faced by men and women of all ages. It can range from a periodic dull ache to a constant stabbing pain. A pain in the lower part of the neck is also often categorized as back pain. This may be caused by a number of factors. Some of these include:

  • Lifting weights incorrectly
  • Handling excess stress
  • Staying in one position for too long

Patients suffering from frequent episodes of back pain or pain that lasts for more than six weeks are often advised to undergo physiotherapy. In cases of severe back pain, the earlier you start your physiotherapy, the more effective it will be.

Physiotherapy aims at finding a way to reduce the pain being experienced and prevent it from recurring. When it comes to treating back pain, there are usually two parts of a physiotherapy program. The first is a passive physiotherapy that helps reduce the pain being experienced. The second part of the program involves exercises that help strengthen the muscles and keep the pain from recurring.

  1. Passive physiotherapy: This part of physiotherapy is termed as passive as the patient need not do anything himself. Using an ice pack or a heat pack to deal with the pain is one example of passive physiotherapy. This helps reduce inflammation and relieves pain. Hot packs and cold packs are usually used alternatively. Other examples include ultrasound therapy and a therapy that involves the use of a transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulator (TENS) unit.
  2. Active physiotherapy: Once the pain has been brought under control, the next step is to strengthen the muscles and nerves in the back. Stretching exercises are a basic element of active physiotherapy. These exercises need to be performed every day and should be made a habit. In cases of severe back pain, these exercises may need to be practiced under expert supervision in a hospital. But otherwise, it may be done at home. Along with stretches, dynamic lumbar stabilization exercises and exercises that strengthen the core muscles are also important. Some form of low-impact aerobics may also be prescribed to improve flexibility. Unlike the other exercises mentioned above, this need not be practiced every day.

Physiotherapy can be a very effective way of treating back pain as long as it is used the right way. For example, when using a heat pack or an ice pack, the packs should not be placed in direct contact with the patient’s skin. Similarly, when practicing physiotherapy exercises, the patient must not over-exert the muscles and stop immediately, if he/she experiences any pain or discomfort.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

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