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Physical Therapy

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PhysioHealth offers physical therapy for patients suffering from back pain and other conditions. Our Kent, Washington clinic practices integrative medicine, combining medical, chiropractic, physical therapy and therapeutic massage in a single, convenient location.

Patients suffering from most types of low back pain are often referred for physical therapy for four weeks as an initial conservative (nonsurgical) treatment option before considering other more aggressive treatments, including back surgery. The goals of physical therapy are to decrease back pain, increase function, and teach the patient a maintenance program to prevent future back problems.

Common forms of physical therapy include:

Passive physical therapy (modalities), which includes things done to the patient, such as heat application, ice packs and electrical stimulation. For example, a heating pad may be applied to warm up the muscles prior to doing exercising and stretching, and an ice pack may be used afterward to sooth the muscles and soft tissues.

Active physical therapy, which focuses on specific exercises and stretching. For most low back pain treatments, active exercise is the focus of the physical therapy program.

Lumbar spine (low back) stability is largely dependent on the supporting abdominal (stomach) and low back musculature. The abdominal muscles provide the initial stabilizing support through their ability to generate pressure within the abdomen which is exerted posteriorly on the spine, thus providing an anterior support column (from the front of the spine). The low back muscles stabilize the spine from the back and lead to posterior support. Simply stated, the bony spine and discs are surrounded by muscles, and the stronger these specific muscles are, the less stress is placed on the discs and joints of the spine. The patients should develop a “belt” of muscle around their spine.

Physical Therapy Before and After Back Surgery

There is substantial evidence supporting the benefits of physical therapy and exercise both before and after back surgery. The strength and stability that physical therapy provides can significantly shorten a patient’s recovery time after surgery. Physical therapy and exercise is considered an important part of most back pain patients’ treatments, including those undergoing non-surgical and surgical care. This is because patients with low back pain are most likely to recover when the patient is in optimum physical condition. Unless there is a contraindication for physical therapy or a patient requires emergency surgery, most patients are advised to undergo a trial of physical therapy prior to considering back surgery.

If you have back pain, you should contact your health provider or PhysioHealth as soon as possible. Our integrative medicine team in Kent, WA can help by assessing your condition and creating a treatment physical therapy program to reduce your pain while increasing your range of motion. We can help.

What Exactly Is Physical Therapy?

Physical therapy is commonly comprised of three critical phases: pain relief, strengthening, and functional integration. Some people are apprehensive toward physical therapy because they assume it will hurt them; however, the opposite is usually exact. Physical therapy is directed at pain relief and strengthening, and our physical therapists will make sure that your treatment plan won’t bring you any pain or distress. This is achieved through various treatment services, such as ice and heat therapies, stretching, bracing, and ultrasound.

An active lifestyle is also dependent upon movement. Our physical therapists will cater to your treatment plan around specific movements designed to increase your strength, flexibility, balance, and overall mobility. He or she will assist you with many of these exercises, but will also provide some simple ones that can be done at home.

The outcome of physical therapy is living the life you want, free from painful restrictions. That can only happen when you apply the concepts you learn from your treatments to the outside world. Our physical therapist is as dedicated as you are, and will encourage you to achieve all the goals you outlined in the beginning.