Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation
Physical Therapy plays an important role in the treatment and prevention of musculoskeletal pain. Therapy ranges from passive modalities (such as heat, ice, and electrical stimulation) to active treatments such as stabilization and strengthening exercises.
After an acute injury, the physical therapist will often use modalities to decrease inflammation and muscle spasm and promote tissue healing. Initial treatment may include superficial moist heat or ice applied 2-3 times a day for fifteen minutes at a time. Ultrasound treatments are also used to heat deeper soft tissue structures. Sometimes, other modalities may be used including:
- Electrical muscle stimulation
- Iontophoresis (moving medication thru the skin via an electrical current)
- Soft tissue massage
- Spinal traction
- Spinal mobilization and manipulation
After the initial passive therapy, an active rehabilitation program is important to provide stabilization and strengthening to the injured area. The physical therapist works with your physician to develop a specific program for spine strengthening and an individualized exercise program.
Exercise can be the key to your recovery, as well as a good prevention against future pain. Our physicians have developed an exercise routine with easy explanations and diagrams to help you follow them properly. The purpose of these exercises is to promote flexibility and strengthen the spinal musculature.
Low Back Exercises
Unless instructed otherwise, do each exercise 1 to 5 repetitions, twice each day. Gradually increase your workout to 10 repetitions twice a day. Use slow, smooth actions as you exercise. If you feel any discomfort while doing the exercises, stop immediately and contact your physician. Stop any exercise that increases back pain or causes tingling, numbness, or weakness in your legs.
Double knee-to-chest stretch
a) Lie down on back.
b) Pull both knees in to chest until you feel a comfortable stretch in lower back.
c) Keep the back relaxed.
d) Hold for 45 to 60 seconds.
Pelvic tilt exercise
a) Lie on back with knees bent, feet flat
on floor, and arms at sides (a)
b) Flatten small of back against floor.
(Hips will tilt upward.) (b)
c) Hold for 10 to 15 seconds and release.
Gradually increase your holding time to 60 seconds.
Lower trunk rotation stretch
a) Lie on back.
b) Keeping back flat and feet together, rotate knees to one side.
c) Hold for 45 to 60 seconds.
a) Lie on the floor on back.
b) Keeping arms folded across chest, tilt pelvis to flatten back. Tuck chin into chest.
c) Tighten abdominal muscles while raising head and shoulders from floor.
d) Hold for 10 seconds and release.
e Repeat 10 to 15 times. Gradually increase your repetitions.
Trunk flexion stretch
a) On hands and knees, tuck in chin and arch back.
b) Slowly sit back on heels, letting shoulders drop toward floor.
c) Hold for 45 to 60 seconds.
Alternate arm-leg extension exercise
a) Face floor on hands and knees.
b) Raise left arm and right leg. Do not arch neck.
c) Hold for 10 seconds and release.
d) Raise right arm and left leg. Do not arch neck.
e) Hold for 10 seconds and release.
Prone Lumbar Extension
Purpose: To extend your lower back.
a) Lie on your stomach and place your hands on the floor near the sides of your head.
b) Slowly push your upper body off the floor by straightening your arms, but keep your hips on the floor. Hold for 10 seconds, then relax your arms, moving back to the floor.
Alternate leg extension
a) Lie on your stomach with your arms folded under your chin.
b) Slowly lift one leg -- not too high -- without bending it, while keeping your pelvis flat on the floor.
c) Slowly lower your leg and repeat with the other leg.
Hamstring stretch while standing
a) Stand on right leg with left leg on table/chair.
b) Stretch hamstring by slowly bending right knee.
c) Hold for 30-45 sec.
d) Repeat with other leg.