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Q: Can physical therapy help lower back pain?

Posted March 05, 2014 in Adel, Advice Column

A: A study in the January 2009 issue of the scientific journal Physical Therapy states that patients with persistent low back pain and disability can significantly reduce their pain and increase their mobility with the help of physical therapy which focuses on regaining control of trunk muscles known as the transversus abdominis and multifidus which support and control the spine.

With specific stabilization exercise, also known as motor control exercise, patients are taught how to isolate and “switch on” these muscles and incorporate these movements into their normal daily activities. This form of exercise is not the same as going to the gym or going for a walk. Instead a physical therapist who is working closely with the patient can identify the specific trunk muscles causing such pain and help the patient by re-teaching these muscles to support the spine first by simple postures, then later in more challenging activities, thus improving the health and quality of life of those who struggle with this condition. Also, these patients with low back pain are able to be more physically active over a longer period of time than those receiving other treatments such as painful and expensive surgery or dealing with side effects of medications, and especially for those who choose not to seek treatment at all.

Information provided by Mike Burggraaf, PT, DPT, LAT, Core Physical Therapy Inc., 516 Nile Kinnick Drive S., Suite B, Adel, 993-5599.

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