(October 22, 2015)- Low back pain is a common condition for most folks at one time or another. Symptoms range from a dull ache to a stabbing or shooting pain in the area just above the buttocks. There are a number of causes, but low back pain most commonly occurs after an injury or heavy lifting.
Roger Weitlich woke up one morning with back pain that did not go away. So he got into physical therapy about a month after the pain started, which follows current guidelines.
Researchers wondered if patients would do better by starting earlier. They found it resulted in slightly faster improvement in functioning. But at a year out, there was no difference in levels of functioning or pain.
“The person that wakes up one day and starts having a nagging backache, they’re the ones that I think can wait and let’s see how that plays out,” said physical therapist, Steve Adams.
Adams says those who have sudden or acute pain from lifting or a car crash can benefit from earlier therapy. He also believes those with nagging trouble shouldn’t wait much longer than a month to get started.
“You wait and have back pain for so long, you start changing the way you move which sets you up for other problems later on.”
WebMD reports that back pain lasting more than three months is considered chronic. And there are a number of treatments including mild exercise, moist heat, ibuprofen and acetaminophen available without a doctor’s intervention.
Adams and researchers emphasize pain usually goes away with time.
“You don’t need to worry about surgeries, injections and MRIs,” said Adams.
Roger Weitlich says he’s glad he didn’t rush to surgery. He recovered, like most, with time and light physical therapy.
4 Your Health is presented by American Senior Communities.