Home Exercise Is Important to Relieve Back Pain
If you have back pain, physical therapy can help reduce discomfort and improve your quality of life. But finding relief from back pain involves more than spending a few hours a week in outpatient therapy – it takes a commitment to home exercise.
Typical physical therapy regimens require you to visit a physical therapist two to three days per week for one-hour appointment increments for a duration of six to eight weeks. During this time, a physical therapist’s goal is to make you better and to teach you how to make yourself better, which is the secret to long lasting relief.
Your physical therapist will teach you the best ways to perform your activities at home and to work with proper body mechanics and ergonomics in mind. These new techniques will help to minimize your pain, lessen the strain on your body, speed your recovery and avoid re-injury.
Participating in physical exercise for only a few hours a week during your physical therapy appointments will not provide your muscles with enough stimulation to develop to the level that is necessary to provide relief. To achieve this, you will need to follow a prescribed home exercise program (HEP).
- A series of extremity stretches
- Back stabilization exercises
- Recommendations for proper posture while seated, sleeping or riding in the car
- Suggested ergonomic changes to your work environment (i.e., computer height, desk chair)
- Training in body mechanics for lifting, carrying and getting out of bed
Neglecting your HEP is like eating healthy only one day a week – it’s not enough to benefit your body. If you follow your home exercise program, you will be able to utilize face time with your physical therapist to focus on functional training with specialized rehabilitation equipment and technologies and/or manual therapy techniques.
Your HEP will be updated throughout your rehabilitation program to continue to challenge your muscles and help increase your strength. You also will receive an updated HEP when you are discharged to help you maintain your new strength and function.