OrthoVirginia Blog

Physical Therapy to Treat Low Back Pain

A new study by JAMA Internal Medicine has been in the news recently.  Patients have been talking and asking about the study.  The study looks at trends in treating low back pain between 1999 and 2010, covering almost 24,000 visits for low back pain.  They found the rate of narcotic prescriptions have increased by 10% for back pain visits, the use of CT scans or MRIs have increased by 4%, and the rate of prescribing non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (i.e. Advil, Aleve) has decreased by 13%.  Physical therapy referral was unchanged, with about 20% of patient visits being referred to physical therapy.
The American College of Physicians guidelines recommend physical therapy and NSAIDs as a first line of treatment.  This is a great opportunity for us to reinforce to our patients the importance of physical therapy as a conservative measure in treating low back pain.
In treating back pain in physical therapy, we focus on manual therapy ("hands-on") techniques to get your back moving better, core strengthening, and flexibility/strengthening of the hips and legs.  We take time to teach body mechanics and proper lifting techniques.  Ergonomics education for the workplace is also addressed.  Through this comprehensive treatment, we hope to help alleviate your pain and prevent future injury.
Please see JAMA Internal Medicine, 2013 for the full article.