Coping with Chronic Back Pain

The spine is a complex system, which is composed of many joints that allow us to bend, flex and twist freely. In fact, we bend and flex an average of 3,000 - 5,000 times per day. At this rate, it may come as no surprise that it can be hard to resolve back pain or heal a back injury.

It is estimated that 75 - 85 percent of Americans will suffer from back pain at least once in their lifetime. For some, the pain will only last for a couple of days and cause minimal disruption to their lifestyles. Others may have episodes that last several months and then slowly begin to heal. Unfortunately, many people suffer from chronic back pain which could last decades. When asked, they have a difficult time remembering when they last spent a day pain free. To cope with this ailment, many people rely on both prescription and over-the-counter medications, yet still have pain that disrupts their lives and limits their activities.

When people with chronic pain are referred to physical therapy, many are skeptical. Pain has become so much a part of their lives, it is hard to believe it can go away or be reduced by any means - let alone with additional exercise and movement.

The physical therapists at Good Shepherd can identify postures and activities that produce symptoms - like tying your shoes and rising from a chair - and then offer modifications to these activities to reduce pain and enable healing to begin. Patients can learn more about their symptoms and understand when an activity is disrupting the healing process. Learning strategies and positions to adapt when pain is present empowers patients and puts them in control of their pain.

While living completely pain free may not be possible, physical therapy can often be the tool a patient needs to continue living a fulfilling life without relying on pain medications.

To make an appointment with a physical therapist at Good Shepherd or a physician in our Spine & Joint Center, call 1-888-44-REHAB (73422) or contact us.

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