A friend of mine recently posted a question on Facebook: “Does anyone have a good remedy for a bad back? I can’t even put on my socks!”
A couple of things struck me about this post.
1. The number of people who responded!
As they say, the numbers don’t lie. Almost 30% of adults had back pain in 2009 in the 3 months prior to being surveyed for Health, United States, 2010, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 34th report on the health status of the nation. About 3.4 million emergency department (ED) visits—an average of 9,400 visits a day—were specifically for back problems at US hospitals in 2008, with adults aged 18 to 44 the most likely to require just emergency department care, according to the latest News and Numbers from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). In the same year, there were more than 663,000 inpatient stays principally for back surgery or other back disorder treatments.
2. The treatment recommendations!
Here are just a few: Hot bath, chiropractor, acupuncture, heat, ice, foam roller, stretching, movement, alcohol, acupressure, massage, Biofreeze, Thermacare wraps, vicodin, lying on your back with pillow under knees, cannabis, yoga, Theracane, Icy Hot, tens unit, physical therapy, back extension on the floor, dry needling, and walking.
Wow! That’s quite a list. I guess one take away from this might be: what works for one person, may or may not work for another.
So, what are the medical recommendations? Well, I think that depends on who you ask. Most (if not all) clinicians would agree that movement, walking, and continuation of regular activity as tolerated is preferred over bed rest. That’s probably where the consistency ends. So instead of arguing the validity of those treatments that I do not provide, I will offer my own suggestion: go to a physical therapist.
MN is a direct access state, which means that you can “self refer” to a physical therapist and be treated for 90-days without a physician’s referral. Some insurance plans still require one, so a quick call to your insurance is recommended.
At Germann Physical Therapy, your therapist will perform a comprehensive examination and provide an assessment of your condition. Treatment recommendations are determined by the findings of the exam. At GPT, we offer a variety of treatment techniques for low back pain including mobilization, manual therapy, exercise recommendations including core stabilization and stretches, and trigger point dry needling. (More about dry needling in an upcoming post.)
In an effort to save you a trip to urgent care, GPT is providing same-day appointments, and “on-call” weekend visits (as the therapists schedule permits) for acute back pain. Schedule your appointment online at www.germannpt.com or call 952-303-4550.