How Active and Passive Physical Therapy Treatment Can Improve Back Pain

How Active and Passive PT Treatment Can Improve Back Pain Apr5th 2021

Many people suffer from lower back pain and have no idea how to find lasting relief.  The World Health Organization estimates that in the United States, 149 million days of work are lost due to low back pain. Dealing with this kind of pain can take time away from relaxing, working, spending time with family, and enjoying life overall. It can keep a person feeling extremely irritable, stressed out, and can lead to a variety of other health issues!

Lower back pain is the leading cause of activity limitation and an inability to work all over the globe, which imposes a high economic burden on individuals, families, communities, industry, and governments.

If you’re dealing with this kind of pain, we know you’re probably sick and tired of allowing it to run your life. The good news is physical therapy can help. A licensed physical therapist can help guide you through the necessary treatment to get back to your daily life, without pain. Contact our office today to learn more!

What kinds of physical therapy treatments are available?

Physical therapy is a type of treatment that targets the management of disabilities and injuries, and also aims to improve a person’s overall health.

Physical therapy encourages healing and is a great treatment option to restore range of motion and functional mobility. A physical therapist is a skilled movement specialist and an expert at alleviating all kinds of pain, including back pain! PT’s are trained and knowledgeable regarding safe and holistic pain management techniques including the rehabilitation of patients with neurologic, cardiovascular, and orthopedic conditions.

Passive and active physical therapy are the two main parts of every physical therapy treatment program. Every patient will receive a unique, specialized treatment plan specific to their condition and fitness goals.

Benefits of passive physical therapy

Let’s face it, lower back pain is no walk in the park. It can truly keep you from being as active as you’re used to being. Because of this, a physical therapist must decrease your pain as much as possible from the start so that you can begin participating in your treatment.

Passive physical therapy aims to reduce a patient’s pain levels as well as make them more manageable. The following therapy techniques and tools are commonly referred to as passive therapy because they are done to a patient by a physical therapist.

Some of these methods (such as hot/cold packs and massage therapy) are used to improve blood flow and restore circulation to the affected area, thereby reducing pain and inflammation.

  • Ultrasound
  • Iontophoresis
  • Dry needling
  • Hydrotherapy
  • Manual therapies
  • Massage
  • Electrical stimulation, such as TENS Units
  • Heat/ice packs

Physical therapists also often use electrical stimulation therapy, which is a non-invasive, painless treatment that delivers electrical waves through your nervous system to encourage your body to produce pain-relieving hormones and reduce muscle spasms.

Hydrotherapy treatment involves performing low-intensity movements in water to relieve pressure on muscles. Water has many healing properties and will allow you to move your joints more comfortably.

Benefits of active physical therapy

Active physical therapy is different from passive because it involves exercises that you, the patient, must do, instead of actions being performed on you by the physical therapist.

There are tons of exercises that your physical therapist might recommend. Many of them involve stability training, strength training and targeted stretches. Some of these exercises can improve your range of motion, and others can build up and restore the muscles around affected areas to provide those parts of the body with proper support.

These independent exercises are normally utilized later in treatment, once your lower back pain has been decreased enough for you to do them without experiencing too much pain or discomfort.

 What is physical therapy like?

Physical therapy may be a new experience for you, but it shouldn’t make you worried.

During your first appointment at our clinic, one of our skilled physical therapists will do a complete examination of your body and ask you many health related questions. These questions will most likely revolve around  your medical history and pain symptoms. Allowing them to have this information will help your therapist provide you with the best treatment plan so that you experience long-lasting results.

Depending on what your symptoms are, your physical therapist may assess your  flexibility, strength, balance, posture, coordination, blood pressure, and heart and respiration rates. They might touch and evaluate your back and surrounding areas to check for tightness. They will also visually assess your mobility.

Your physical therapist will provide you with special exercises to perform at home so that you can minimize pain, avoid getting hurt again, lessen strain, and speed up your recovery time. They may also recommend the use of certain technology that can aid you in recovery, and spend time educating you about where your source of pain is coming from, as well as strategies for pain management.

If you’re ready to alleviate (or even eliminate!) your pain, contact StepUp PT to learn more about how physical therapy can help you live a pain-free life.


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