Lower Back Pain

Rochester Sports and Physical Therapy running man Low back pain

Lower Back Pain

Low back pain is a common problem treated Rochester Sports and Physical Therapy. Back pain comes in many forms and from various causes. Macrotrauma, as, for example, a result of a motor vehicle or work-related accident, can be cause for low back pain. Microtrauma in the form of repeated stresses to the spine can cause low back pain as a result of abnormal alignment, improper stabilization, and/or faulty movement patterns. Low back pain may be localized to the lumbar spine or may manifest itself as symptoms in the legs. Listed below are some of the common low back pain problems treated at Rochester Sports and Physical Therapy:

  1. Sciatica. The large sciatic nerve that exits the spinal canal from the lumbar spine may become inflamed and/or impinged in the low back or buttock region leading to low back pain and leg symptoms. Causes of sciatica include disc pathology, joint dysfunction, and muscle entrapment.
  2. Disc herniation. The intervertebral disc acts as a mobile shock absorber between each vertebra in the low back and can cause low back pain if disrupted. Typically as disc problems worsen different sensations in the leg may appear. Herniation is a catch-all term and may refer to varying levels of disc involvement. Bulge, protrusion, prolapse, extrusion, and sequestration represent increasing levels of disc pathology.
  3. Joint Dysfunction (facet syndrome). The lumbar facet joints can become inflamed and irritated from excessive stresses or can become “stuck” and less mobile.
  4. Lumbar spinal stenosis. Narrowing of the area where the nerves exit the spine, over time, can cause pinching of these structures leading to low back pain and/or leg symptoms.
  5. Degenerative Joint Disease/Degenerative Disc Disease. Over time, degeneration of the discs and surrounding joints can occur due to age or wear from excessive stresses.
  6. Sacroiliac (SI) Joint Dysfunction. The joint where the pelvis meets the spine can become inflamed or “locked”.
  7. Other causes of low back pain. Spondylolisthesis (forward slippage of one vertebra on another), muscle strains/spasms, nonspecific low back pain (unidentified cause of low back pain), status-post surgical interventions (including laminectomy, discectomy, and fusions), pelvic, back, and/or leg pain associated with pregnancy.


Evaluation, Treatment, and Prevention

  1. When coming to Rochester Sports and Physical Therapy for back pain, the licensed physical therapists will perform a thorough evaluation to determine the cause of pain. The therapist will identify the factors that contribute to the pain such as muscle imbalances, postural stress, and faulty movement patterns.
  2. The first goal of treatment is to reduce pain. Modalities such as heat, ice, ultrasound, electric stimulation, phonoporesis, and inotophoresis can assist in decreasing inflammation and pain. The therapist may also use manual therapies, such as massage, joint mobilization and traction to decrease pain and return function.
  3. In order to relieve back pain, it is important to learn specific exercises and stretches that address muscle imbalances and correct faulty movement patterns. Not only will exercises and stretches help to relieve back pain, but the knowledge of the techniques learned at Rochester Sports and Physical therapy will help the patient to prevent additional problems in the future. Each of our patients receives an individual home exercise program so they can continue to improve after they are finished with therapy. This empowers them to be responsible for the health of their bodies.