Back Pain Can’t Wait

By Ehren Allen, DPT/Certified Orthopedic Manual Therapist

Back pain is common because so many people have to sit all day at a desk. But even during the pandemic, back pain can't wait for treatment. It is important to get treatment early.

Image of man with back pain.

Back Pain Can’t Wait

80 percent! This is the percentage of people that will have low back pain at some point.  You could say that it is almost normal to have low back pain at some point.  But what do you do about it, especially during COVID-19?  There are options, even during the pandemic.  It is important to get treatment early for back pain.  Living with back pain for several months can lead to other issues like:

  • Decreased fitness and conditioning
  • Less tolerance to daily activity
  • Less productivity with work
  • Chronic pain issues
  • Weight gain
  • Depression

These complications compound the problem and make recovery from back pain take much longer.  That’s why back pain can’t wait for care.

If you would like to see a JOI Spine Specialist, click here: SCHEDULE NOW!

To learn more about why back pain can’t wait, watch this VIDEO or Read On.

Why is Back Pain So Common?

Back pain can't wait for care, even during the Covid-19 Pandemic. Early treatment can help to prevent complications and help to speed the recovery.

Back Pain Can’t Wait

The quick answer is that we weren’t made to sit all day. The advancement of technology in society has led to the majority of the workforce working at a desk and computer all day. But our bodies were made to move. Sitting at a desk leads to poor posture and repetitive stress on the lower lumbar spine.

When you sit, over time the hips slide forward and the shoulders roll forward. This position places the low back in a flexed or bent position. When the lumbar spine is flexed, it compresses the front of the discs between the vertebral segments. This forces the fluid inside the disc toward the back of the disc. Over time, the pressure of the fluid can wear on the back of the disc and cause inflammation and pain. In severe cases, the fluid can push through the back of the disk. This is called a herniated disk. Whether there is a herniation or just inflammation, there can be significant symptoms.  Symptoms may include:

  • low back pain
  • leg pain
  • numbness
  • tingling
  • weakness
  • muscle spasms

There are other causes of low back pain as well.  Some people hurt their low back by lifting and twisting with the back. Others have wear and tear in the spine from physical work over the years that causes degenerative changes like arthritis.  Regardless of the cause, it is important to get care for back pain early.

To learn more about the Anatomy of the Spine, this VIDEO may help.

What is the Best Way To Treat Back Pain?

When Back pain can't wait, physical therapy is a great first treatment option.

Physical therapy for back pain

The quick answer is to treat it conservatively and early. There has been a lot of research performed over the last 25 years on the best ways to address back pain.  Overwhelmingly, research shows that early conservative treatment is the best place to start. Insurance companies have picked up on this as well.  Many health insurance companies will not authorize other testing or treatments unless conservative care is tried first. This is because studies show that a lot of the time people with back pain improve with conservative care.

What is Conservative Care for Back Pain?

The quick answer is physical therapy. There is overwhelming research evidence that early physical therapy is a solid first line of treatment with most episodes of low back pain.  In fact, in many cases patients do not start improving until they began physical therapy. Physical therapy can help back pain in several ways including:

  1. Manual therapy to help pain and mobility
  2. Educate patients on posture and proper mechanics
  3. Educate patients on exercises to improve movement & pain
  4. Screen for more severe issues that require immediate physician referral

What if Physical Therapy Does Not Help My Back Pain?

Back pain can't wait for treatment and sometimes, conservative care does not fix it. In this case, MRIs or X-rays may be needed.

Spinal MRI films

If back pain does not improve with 4 to 6 weeks of physical therapy, it may be time to see a spine specialist.  A spine doctor may order films such as X-rays or MRIs.  This will help them to determine the next course of treatment.  In some cases, medications or injections are helpful in the spine. There are cases when surgery may be needed.

To learn about a new advanced spine surgical option JOI offers, watch this VIDEO.

How Do You Keep Back Pain From Recurring?

It is important to maintain good posture while working. This can help to avoid recurring pain after back problems. Back pain can't wait for care and you can help avoid recurring pain with a standing station at work.

Sitting and standing work station

The good news is that most of the time, people get better from back pain within about 6 weeks with conservative care.  But it is possible to have a recurrence of pain if you don’t change the things that caused the back problem.  Some ways to help avoid recurring back pain are:

  • Standing Work Station – Standing promotes an erect spine posture and decreases the risk of repetitive stress in the low back.
  • Exercise – Regular exercise keeps your body mobile and fit.  It can also keep body weight lower which decreases stress on the back.
  • Hydrate – The disks are filled with fluids and water can help to keep them healthy.
  • Lift Properly – Proper lifting decreases the risk of injuring the lumbar spine.

To learn back exercises to do at work, this ARTICLE may help.

What if Back Pain Can’t Wait for COVID-19 To Be Over?

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Even while practicing social distancing, it is still very easy to receive care for back pain in a safe environment.  The Jacksonville Orthopaedic Institute is the area’s leader in treating back issues and we are taking extreme precautions to keep you safe so that you can get care now!  JOI has Spine physicians and surgeons in multiple locations around the Northeast Florida area.  We also have 12 rehabilitation locations so that you can receive conservative care close to home. We offer a FAST TRACK SPINE PROGRAM so that you can start physical therapy within 1 business day.  Watch this VIDEO to learn more about the Fast Track Spine Program.

JOI offers all of this because we understand that Back Pain Can’t Wait for Care…. And we can’t wait to take care of you!

To learn about how JOI is keeping you safe during the pandemic, go to JOI4U.

To schedule an appointment with a JOI Spine Specialist, call JOI-2000, schedule online, or click the link below.

Book An Appointment with a JOI Physician

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Ehren Allen is a content writer and physical therapist with the Jacksonville Orthopaedic Institute.

Ehren Allen, DPT, COMT


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