Low back pain is common, disruptive to daily life, and it is often a recurring condition. Every day healthcare professionals treat people suffering from this condition, and some results indicate that up to 85% of the population will suffer from low back pain on a reoccurring basis. While treatment can vary, a multi-faceted approach that includes several different protocols may be the most effective.
Researchers have studied several factors that can contribute to low back pain such as smoking, lack of physical activity, disc tears, and past fractures. These are not effective indicators from low back pain recurrence. One factor, stands out a reliable predictor of lower low back recurrence: a previous episode of low back pain.
Recurring low back pain is common and has been loosely defined as symptoms that occur that require medical attention within a 12-month span of time. Researchers are continually trying to better understand the causes and treatments. For long term success, they are asking, “Does it make a difference how someone with low back pain is treated initially?” “Does it make a difference if someone has leg pain associated with the low back symptoms?” “Are different medications more effective at treating the low back pain and preventing a recurrence?”
Treating low back pain with a multi-faceted approach can be very effective. The symptoms of an acute, insidious onset of low back pain usually resolve within 6-8 weeks regardless of the treatment. Unfortunately the recurrence of similar symptoms is very common and recent studies indicate that more than 30% of these patients suffer from these recurring events. The best treatment for low back pain usually involves the use of medications, physical therapy and activity modifications.
Treatment in Physical Therapy focuses on the reduction of symptoms with the use of modalities, hands-on techniques, body mechanics education and exercises. The goals of the treatment are to resolve the symptoms and educate the patient with ways to avoid future recurrences of similar episodes. Maintaining an exercise routine that addresses the core musculature strength and endurance and working on flexibility of the hips and lumbar spine appear to be the best way to prevent a recurrence of low back pain. The severity and duration of a reoccurring episode is usually less intense and shorter if the routine is performed on a consistent basis.
Visiting a Physical Therapist is easy and does not require a doctor’s prescription. Check with your insurance company to see if you are required to have a referral from your Primary Care Physician.
Episodes of recurrent low back pain are common in today’s society. Unfortunately, there have not been any studies done that identify specific factors that might predict if these reoccurrences with the one exception of a person that has experienced previous low back pain. More research is required to identify these factors, but in the meantime have your patients or clients perform a regular exercise routine that will strengthen the core, build muscular endurance and flexibility throughout the lumbar spine and lower extremities.