The stabbing, burning or radiating pain caused by lower back injuries can bring daily life to a screeching halt.
“Pain is an alarm system,” said Adam Potts, DPT, OCS, CSCS, a physical therapist at CarePartners North Clinic. A lot of back pain can be relieved with movement, but sometimes patients are afraid to get going again.
More than anything, 69-year-old Jim Palmer of Asheville just wanted to resume his daily walks around the lake. “I was looking for function. When you lose your mobility, you can no longer function independently,” said Jim, whose sciatic nerve pain had gotten so bad, it reduced his 3-mile walk to less than a mile per day.
Instead of advanced imaging, physical therapists at CarePartners start with a thorough assessment to stage the injury, determine the severity of pain, and measure range of motion and strength. This assessment helps make the right diagnosis, predict the likelihood of recurrence and evaluate effective treatment options.
“We focus on pain and function,” said Potts. “By putting patients first, we help them meet their goals.”
Physical therapists develop personalized care plans to improve patients’ outcomes. A combination of strengthening and stretching exercises are tailored for each patient’s needs and condition. Joint and soft tissue techniques can supplement exercises, and patient education about lifestyle changes can prevent future injuries. But it’s the pain education that moves mountains.
“By understanding the pain, patients can keep moving and stay healthy,” said Potts. Patients who stick to their exercises maintain the benefits of physical therapy, and even after a lapse, the benefits can resume.
“I exercise every day now, strengthening my core and my back. They nailed which exercises I needed so I can function the way I wanted to. You can’t ask for any more than that,” said Palmer.
For help with your lower back pain, ask your physician for a referral to CarePartners or call (828) 281-0754 or, to learn more, visit carepartners.org.
Adam Potts, DPT, OCS, CSCS, is a physical therapist at CarePartners North Clinic. (828) 281-0754
By Cheri Hinshelwood