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Ouch, My Back Hurts! Acute Back Pain Relief
By Mark McMillen, PT

If you’ve experienced pain in your lower back, you’re not alone! Acute low back pain is one of the leading reasons for medical consultation in the United States. Symptoms of acute low back pain include stiffness and sudden back pain felt between the ribs and the lower part of the buttocks. People of all ages, gender, and ethnicity experience acute low back pain; it can impact their ability to work, participate in leisure activities, and enjoy a high quality of life.

Did you know that acute low back pain, typically lasting less than 12-weeks, can often lead to chronic pain? The good news is that with early intervention and appropriate treatment, it may be possible to avoid long-term problems. Physical therapy treatment of acute low back pain varies depending on the origin of the pain. At UPMC Centers for Rehab Services (CRS), our physical therapists are not only leading the fight against low back pain but are setting the standard of care for the national and international medical community. Many of the evidence-based manual therapy techniques used worldwide have been developed and refined by our very own clinical experts.

Following a detailed evaluation, our physical therapists utilize manual physical therapy which is a highly specialized facet of practice in the treatment of acute low back pain. Manual physical therapy interventions require a detailed understanding of functional human anatomy and precise therapist technique. Our therapists use their hands to put pressure on muscle tissue to increase blood circulation, relax the muscles, and ease pain. When needed, they mobilize soft tissue, joints, and bones to help loosen tight muscles and decrease muscle pain while improving flexibility and posture. These techniques are followed by focused exercises that strengthen back and trunk musculature, improve overall stability and prevent future episodes of acute back pain. Patients are given a detailed home exercise program as an adjunct to their clinic visit and, in many cases, patients will begin to feel improvement the same day of these interventions. If you experience low back pain, manual physical therapy may help you get back to doing the things you love.

Mark McMillen is Physical Therapist, Facility Director, at UPMC Centers for Rehab Services – Chippewa. For more information, contact UPMC Centers for Rehab Services at 1-888-723-4CRS (4277).

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