Is There One Best Therapy for Lower Back Pain?

Many wish that there was one "best" therapy for lower back pain, but alas, there is not. This is because there are many causes for this sort of pain. The same goes for neck, disc, and sciatica pain. Therefore, before suggesting a treatment, a medical practitioner or physical therapist must first examine you to determine the cause of the problem.


Therapy for lower back pain is surprisingly varied. In many cases, this pain is caused by strains or sprains, and will go away on its own in six to eight weeks. Therefore, serious therapies are typically only started if the pain lingers. If it does, there are many potential reasons. There could be adhesions – bunches of scar tissue that interfere with normal motion – left over in the strained or sprained area. It's also possible that the initial damage simply hasn't healed yet. In a worst-case scenario, you might have herniated a disc and need therapy for disc pain. As you can see, a single therapy won't address all of these possible causes.


A similar set of circumstances surrounds therapy for neck pain. Neck pain is caused by everything from whiplash to looking down at your phone for too long, and therapies must be tailored to fit the cause. Whiplash injuries can cause adhesions, fractured or herniated discs, and initially, strains and sprains. Therefore, as with back pain, therapy is typically only begun once the normal healing period has passed. If the pain persists, therapy can include motion-restoring exercises, dry needling near me, surgery, stretches, therapy to break up scar tissue, and more. Most people will not need all of these therapies. It is common for only one or two to be used.


Sciatica pain treatment can be one of the trickiest to nail down. This is because any impingement anywhere along the sciatic nerve – which runs all the way from your spine to your feet – can cause the entire thing to go off like a 10-alarm siren. A practitioner therefore has to perform a very careful examination to learn exactly what he or she must address to stop this pain.


True sciatica is caused by an impingement in the spine itself, and therefore requires treatment to be directed at the back. However, the same pain can also be caused by an impingement from a swollen piriformis muscle, which is a small muscle in each buttock. One of the treatments for this impingement is stretching to make the piriformis muscle longer and thinner, thereby opening up more space. A wide variety of injuries can also cause swelling or scar tissue that interferes with this long and highly sensitive nerve.


One therapy that may be used for all of these, depending on the root cause, is dry needling. With this treatment, thin needles are used to pierce the skin, much like acupuncture, but with the intention of stimulating specific "trigger points" instead of working with your life energy (chi). It is a fairly modern treatment, unlike acupuncture. Dry needling gets its name from the fact that the needles aren't used to inject anything under the skin.


A variant, non-trigger point dry needling, places needles in the area around the painful spot instead of just directly into it. This version is based on the idea that pain is caused by a wider nervous or muscular issue instead of only the painful area.


Most research supports claims that this treatment can relieve mild to moderate pain. Some say that it can also relieve stiffness and help with range-of-motion issues. If the pain is greater than mild or moderate, dry needling can be used in combination with other therapies to stack the results.


Whether or not dry needling is right for you depends on the causes of your pain, and as you might expect, your level of comfort with needles. Those who don't mind needles often find that they gain temporary relief from stiffness and pain, and look forward to their treatments. It's worth it to set up a consultation with a practitioner to see if this or other drug-free treatments will be good for your specific condition.


At this consultation, you'll be examined to learn the cause of your pain so the right treatments can be suggested. You'll also be asked about the history of the painful area and about any conditions the doctor thinks may contribute to it. Then, the best treatment plan can be devised.

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