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Back Pain

You Can Beat Back Pain

Back Pain Explained

The back region comprises a huge portion on the body and causes of pain in this area can be hard to determine. Luckily, most cases of back pain are not caused by serious conditions such as arthritis, infection, fracture or cancer. Most likely they are from poor posture or from using poor body mechanics when working or lifting.

The human spine is made up of 24 spinal bones, called vertebrae. The top seven vertebrae make up the cervical spine, the middle 12 make up the thoracic spine and the bottom five make up the lumbar spine. Vertebrae are rings of bone stacked on top of one another to form the spinal column. The spinal column is the body’s main upright support forming a hollow tube surrounding the spinal cord as it passes through the spine. The spinal cord is similar to a long wire made up of millions of nerve fibers. Just as the skull protects the brain, the bones of the spinal column protect the spinal cord.

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Diagnosing Back Pain

Due to its anatomical complexity, diagnosing the cause of back pain is difficult, but physical therapy can prove successful in treating variations of pain. There are several different treatments that physical therapists use to relieve pain, such as applying ice/heat packs, ultrasound, and electrical muscle stimulation. But, even more effective is the specific exercise and manual therapy techniques used, including joint mobilization. Pain is also relieved through active techniques and functional exercise – exercises that stretch the sore muscles and increase their flexibility.

Therapy & Treatment

Two common methods of exercise that provide pain relief include: The McKenzie approach and dynamic lumbar stabilization approach. The McKenzie approach is an overall program of assessment, treatment and prevention of back pain and is best taught by a therapist trained in the method.  Its primary goal is to centralize radiating pain to a specific area in the back where it can be better managed. Dynamic lumbar stabilization exercises control pain by reducing motion at the injury location. The technique involves training muscles to automatically provide protective support during activity thereby increasing the core abdominal strength.