For acute workers comp low back pain, two to four weeks of physical therapy may be prescribed. Chronic low back pain aggravations might need to continued therapy for two to four months. Treatments are designed to ease pain and to improve mobility, strength, posture, and function. One also learns how to control symptoms and how to protect the spine in the future.
The therapist may apply various forms of treatment to address symptoms. These are especially helpful in the early weeks to improve comfort so one can get back to normal activities. The worker will be shown ways to position the spine for maximum comfort while one moves, reclines, or sleeps. To help calm pain and muscle spasm, the therapist may apply heat or ice packs, electrical stimulation, and ultrasound.
With severe back pain, the therapist may work in a pool. Therapy done in water puts less stress on the low back, and the buoyancy allows one to move easier during exercise.
Hands-on treatments such as massage and specialized forms of soft-tissue mobilization may be used. They can help an injured worker begin moving with less pain and greater ease. Medical guidelines also include the early use of spinal manipulation, which has shown short-term benefits in people with acute low back pain. Commonly thought of as an adjustment, spinal manipulation helps reset the sensitivity of the spinal nerves and muscles, easing pain and improving mobility. It involves a high-impulse stretch of the spinal joints and is often characterized by the sound of popping as the stretch is done. It doesn’t provide effective long-term help when used routinely for chronic conditions.
Limiting activity because of back pain is not always recommended. As a result of pain and inactivity, muscles may become weak and deconditioned, and the back won’t function optimally. Therapists use active rehabilitation to prevent the harmful effects of deconditioning. With this active approach, the worker is shown how to lift and move safely. And the worker is shown how to strengthen back muscles. In addition, aerobic exercises are used to improve general fitness and endurance.
Aerobic exercises may include walking on a treadmill, riding a stationary bike, or swimming. These activities can relieve the stress of low back pain, and they can cause your body to release endorphins into the blood stream. Endorphins are the body’s own natural painkillers.
McCormick Law Office attorneys in Milwaukee, Wisconsin get the best workers comp results with permanent work restrictions, regardless of whether there was fusion surgery. Our experienced lawyers and paralegals are available to discuss your case before or after fusion surgery. For free consultation, call us to find out if we can help with your workers comp low back pain case.