Physical Therapy over Surgery for Lower Back Pain?

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Experts estimate that up to 80% of adults will experience back pain at some point in their lives. Lumbar Spinal Stenosis is one of the most common causes of lower back pain in adults. Patients that experience symptoms of Lumbar Spinal Stenosis may have pain, numbness, tingling, or weakness in the groin, buttocks, or upper thigh, pain that occurs when standing or walking that lessens when sitting, or pain that gets worse when leaning back and lessens when leaning forward.

Often a degenerative condition, Lumbar Spinal Stenosis is typically caused by narrowing of the spinal column which can put pressure on the spinal cord or nerves. This narrowing can be caused by normal wear and tear, the aging process, or by bone spurs which can be a result of osteoarthritis.

When it comes to the treatment of this debilitating condition, patients and doctors frequently turn to a surgical option. However, according to a study published this year by Annals of Internal Medicine, in many cases physical therapy can work just as well and comes with fewer potential complications. Physical Therapy treatment for this condition includes stretching and flexibility exercises, strengthening, aerobic exercise, manual therapy, and additional specialized exercises to take pressure off the nerves.

Unfortunately, medical science has yet to find a way to prevent Lumbar Spinal Stenosis. We do know that regular exercise, a healthy body weight, the use of supportive chairs and mattresses can lessen the effects of this condition and slow its progression. Although a number of patients will require surgical intervention for their condition, most patients will find significant relief over time through physical therapy options.