Lower Back Pain: I’ve Done PT, Why Does My Lower Back Still Hurt?

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Lower Back Pain: I’ve Done PT, Why Does My Lower Back Still Hurt?

Chronic Lower Back Pain

Suffering from lower back pain?

As physical therapists we often hear the complaint, “Well, my back was better, but now it’s hurting again…”


Physical therapy is often recommended by doctors in lieu of surgery. No one wants to have back surgery, and if the condition can be treated through physical therapy, that’s the preferred option. However, some conditions just cannot be treated through physical therapy alone, but more often than not, we find that there are other reasons that a patient’s lower back pain has returned.


There’s Not Enough Active Exercise in the Patient’s Program


Strictly palliative treatments like hot and cold packs and stimulation therapy will not work for long term relief. They are great for reducing pain but fail to address the overall root cause. For long term relief, you need active exercise to strengthen the muscle in your back and core.


Some exercises that are great for strengthening your core are:


  • Sit Ups, crunches and leg raises.


  • Hyperextensions. You can use machines, foam rollers or just lie flat on the ground and raise your abdomen up. These are great for loosening up those tight muscles and strengthening them.


  • Good Mornings. Good mornings are a simple exercise performed with a broom stick or bar  across the shoulder. You simply bend at the waist slowly until your torso is parallel with the floor and then return to standing position.


The Patient Is Doing the Exercises Incorrectly


We often find that once a patient is out of the watchful eye of our therapists that their technique suffers and they begin to do the prescribed exercises and stretches incorrectly. This is an easy fix. We just instruct the patient again in how to do the exercises and provide them with an easy-to-follow guide to take home.


The Patient Doesn’t Follow the Entire Program


Each exercise we give a patient has a specific purpose and many build on each other. If the patient decides to skip one because they don’t like it or it’s uncomfortable, it diminishes the effectiveness of the overall program. It’s very important that the patient does the entire program, and not just the part they like or think is the most effective.


The Patient Stops Exercising


This is more common than you might think. A patient comes to our clinic, does the prescribed exercises, feels better and abruptly quits doing the exercises. All of a sudden, the lower back pain returns. Therapy for lower back pain only works if you put in the work and keep putting in the work. If it helps you, why would you stop?


We are here to help you at MSA. If you are suffering from lower back pain and want to exhaust all your options before considering surgery, we can help. Please give us a call to set up an initial consultation.

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