Ask A Pro


I have had chronic low back pain for over 20 years. I usually get several flare ups per year where I am down for a couple days. Would physical therapy help me or am I doomed to live with these episodes for the rest of my life?


Physical therapy can definitely be of benefit to you. Often there is no particular reason or event to cause a flare up. This can be very frustrating. A physical therapist will thoroughly evaluate your lower back flexibility and strength as well as assess your overall posture and movement patterns to determine a possible cause of your pain. Any faulty movement patterns or poor body mechanics that occur in your daily activities may be placing your back at a greater risk for an injury. Your therapist will also educate you in managing your own symptoms when you do experience one of your episodes. Contrary to popular belief, staying in bed for days is not necessarily the best thing for you in the event of an acute episode. Your therapist can teach you an exercise program to maintain good strength in your core muscles (abdominals, lower back, hips). These exercises are good to perform when you are in a “pain-free” cycle in order to improve your overall strength. This can help to decrease the frequency and intensity of any future flare ups. Knowing how to prevent and manage your recurring lower back pain allows you to take control – instead of it controlling you. Play an active role in maintaining proper back health!
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