Physical therapy is an essential tool for overcoming neck and back pain – both before and after a spine procedure. The basic goal of physical therapy is for the individual to regain comfortable function and mobility in the injured part of the body. The specific techniques used by physical therapists vary widely because some patients require therapy to regain strength after an operation, while other individuals use physical therapy for pain control or increased flexibility.
Physical Therapy as Rehabilitation
When people hear the term physical therapy, they commonly associate it with recovering from surgery. For patients who have undergone a spine procedure to treat neck or back pain, thorough rehabilitation is vital to ensure the success of the operation. For patients who have undergone massively invasive open spine surgery, physical therapy usually begins in the hospital and will continue for several months as the individual slowly recovers from the muscle trauma. On the other hand, patients who elect to undergo an outpatient procedure usually require fewer sessions with a physical therapist to strengthen the supporting muscles and increase the likelihood of sustained nerve decompression.
Physical Therapy Techniques
The specific physical therapy techniques recommended to a patient vary widely depending on the pathology of the patient’s problem. Therapy sessions are always tailored to the patient and are carefully designed to target specific parts of the body. In most cases, therapy is an incremental process where the therapist starts with slower, less-intensive exercises that gradually build as strength returns. Eventually, therapy can usually be completed at home and visits to a therapist become more infrequent.
Some common forms of physical therapy include:
- Pool therapy
- Lumbar stabilization exercise
- Rehabilitation exercise
- Manual therapy
If you are suffering from an injury or prolonged neck or back pain, contact your physician for a full medical review today. There may be a more serious underlying cause of your pain – such as a herniated disc or bone spur – that requires medication, physical therapy and other treatments before pain relief can be achieved.