Lower back pain is a condition that affects nearly everyone at some point in our lifetimes. Low back pain can interfere with work, daily activities or recreation. Low back pain can come from stress, injury or conditions such as arthritis. Rehabilitation for low back pain focuses on increasing flexibility of the soft tissues and muscles which hold the spinal column together. Typical activities for rehabilitation include chiropractic care, physical therapy and massage chair therapy.
Low back pain is estimated to cost the U.S. 50 billion dollars a year to diagnose and treat. Back pain is the second most common neurological condition in the U.S. and is the most common cause of job related disability and leading contributor to missed work. Lower back pain can be acute, which is short term and lasts only a few days to a few weeks or chronic, which is measured as lasting more than 3 months and can be progressive.
The treatment for low back pain usually incorporates the use of non-invasive recommendations and usually doesn’t involve surgery. Rehabilitation with a physical therapy will involve the use of analgesics or pain medications, protocols to help reduce inflammation, restore proper function and strength. Most patients will recover without any residual functional loss.
Chiropractic care involves using adjustments, electro-stimulation and massage therapy. Chiropractors want to loosen the stiff and tight muscles of the lower back. This is done by electro-stimulation and with massage therapy. The doctor may then perform an adjustment to the spine to align the vertebra more properly.
There are several things that a patient can do at home to start caring for their back. Using ice or heat, although never scientifically proven to quickly resolve low back injury, may help to reduce inflammation or swelling. If you undertake strenuous activity or have slight pain, then use an ice pack over the area. Use a bag of ice wrapped in a towel. Use the ice for 20 minutes several times a day for 2 to 3 days. The ice will help to reduce the inflammation.
Another remedy is using warm baths or hot packs after 3 or 4 days. This helps to relax the muscles and increase the blood flow to the area. Individuals should never sleep with a heating pad because this can result in burns and other tissue damage. This should help to reduce pain and help to relax the muscles.
Believe it or not exercise is an important aspect of rehabilitation of the lower back muscles, even within one week of the injury. The key is to slowly build muscle strength and flexibility. A routine of back-healthy activities should be included each week that will keep the muscles moving and speed the recovery process. These activities will include stretching, swimming, walking and other exercises to improve coordination.
Yoga is another method to help rehabilitation of the lower back. Yoga incorporates stretching and muscle strengthening into your exercise routine. There may be some mild discomfort at first to get over the initial stiffness, but this should disappear as the muscles grow stronger and more flexible. If the pain is more than mild or persists for longer than 15 minutes during the exercises then you should stop the activity.
Massage therapy provided by a massage chair helps with rehabilitation. Massage chairs provide a number of therapies to help the lower back. Massage chairs use a variety of massage techniques to stretch, elongate and stimulate the muscle tissues. Massage chairs are great to use to warm up before exercise and to warm down after exercise. They help to relax the muscles, increase blood flow and to increase flexibility.
Rehabilitation for the lower back involves getting the muscle to become more elastic and less rigid. Also, increasing the strength of the muscles helps to prevent further injury. Diet, exercise, stretching and massage therapy are all important elements of restoring the health of your spine. Massage chairs can be a key tool in rehabilitation and future health maintenance of your lower back. Check with your doctor to see what is right for your condition.