Lower Back Pain in New Jersey
If you are a New Jersey resident living with lower back pain, the physical therapists of Performance Rehabilitation can help. We offer treatments for lower back pain at our Totowa and Lafayette Township offices.
What is Lower Back Pain?
- Poor posture
- Improper sitting and poor lifting mechanics
- Degeneration of the intervertebral discs
- Arthritic changes
- Irritation of the spinal nerve roots
- Poor core muscle control
A problem or irritation with any of these complex structures could cause pain in the lower back or pain that spreads or can be felt in other parts of the body such as your legs. Many lumbar spinal issues can also cause muscles spasms in your back. While spasms do not sound troubling, they can cause significant pain to a point of disability.
Although lower back pain is very common, the symptoms and degrees of pain vary widely. A simple muscle strain could be excruciating and require a visit to the emergency room, whereas a degenerating disc could cause only intermittent, mild discomfort.
What are the Causes of Lower Back Pain?
The causes of lower back pain most commonly include:
- Sprains to ligaments or strains to muscles supporting the spine.
- Herniated disc or spinal stenosis causing nerve root pressure.
- Instabilities within the spine due to microfracture of the vertebrae.
Lower back pain can also be felt due to osteoarthritis, which is often the result of aging. Osteoarthritis can cause back pain when it affects the small joints, making them stiff and sore. It can also create pressure on the roots of the nerves.
When osteoarthritis affects other joints such as the hips, it can make you limp or change how you walk. This could lead to lower back pain as well.
What are the Symptoms of Lower Back Pain?
The symptoms of lower back pain could include a combination of:
- Difficulty moving that is so severe that you cannot walk or stand.
- Muscle spasms.
- Pain that is dull and achy.
- Pain that moves from your side and to your groin, or pain that extends to your buttock or upper thigh
- Severe or achy pain that starts in the lower back after doing an activity, lifting something heavy or moving suddenly.
- Soreness when something touches the affected area.
How is Lower Back Pain Diagnosed?
The factors that cause lower back pain are often complex. At Performance Rehabilitation, our physical therapists will work with you through a very engaging initial conversation that will begin the process of developing a hypothesis on what is causing your pain. Your participation is integral in this process. Once red flag issues are cleared (like cancer) as potential causes, the interactive nature of the examination continues with the therapist testing your mobility through a series of movements and tests and application of techniques to see if your symptoms resolve, stay the same or get worse. As there are many reasons for back pain, it is very important to have this systemic examination to receive the proper treatment. We will, of course, review your x-ray or MRI and any other relevant test. They are part of the process to better understanding your condition. But our therapists rely on how you present clinically and how they can reduce those symptoms in session to test their theory on what is the cause of your pain.
How is Lower Back Treated at Performance Rehabilitation?
Physical therapy for the lumbar spine (low back) is the most common reason patients seek care. It is also the most expensive in treatment costs in the United States with over 90 billion dollars in direct costs and over $200 billion dollars in indirect costs. Much of this is driven by outdated and inappropriate treatments. This despite the current evidence-based medicine outlining that patients see a physical therapist first for an episode of low back pain. Evidence shows that seeing an orthopedic manual therapist first prevents unnecessary tests (MRI) and surgery. Physical therapists at Performance Rehabilitation utilize evidence-based practice to properly identify and subgroup lower back pain patients into a mobilization, stabilization, movement preference –flexion, extension, side-glides, or traction category. The importance of this type of care cannot be understated as the expertise to identify and provide the proper treatment intervention for the specific subgroup is the key to patient recovery. This can involve mobilization/manipulation, nerve glides, stretching, neuromuscular re-education and core stabilization utilizing the GravityFit exercise system. Poor posture is a major cause of low back pain due to how we live and work in the 21st century. Much of our day is spent sitting at a desk, commuting in a car, and then sitting at home watching television or using the computer. This “micro-gravity” position weakness our core musculature and predisposes us to postural pain and injury. At Performance Rehabilitation, we use the GravityFit whole body exercise system that specifically targets and strengthens the deep “core muscles” that support the body. This treatment system was designed for space research and optimizes core body strength allowing you to feel better, protect you from injury, allow for better movement, and build a powerful foundation that helps athletes to perform better. And if you require lumbar surgery, we are knowledgeable and proficient in the latest surgical techniques and provide post-surgical physical therapy. Our therapists work closely with the surgeon to ensure the most optimal outcomes.
Are you ready to eliminate the discomfort of lower back pain? Contact us to schedule a consultation with one of our physicians at Performance Rehabilitation in Totowa and Lafayette Township in New Jersey.