80% of Americans Experience Back Pain, Physical Therapists Can Prevent It

Got back pain? You’re not alone. Eighty percent of Americans suffer from low back and neck pain at some point in their lives. Let that sink in. With such great odds that you—or someone close to you—will one day become a statistic, wouldn’t it make sense to arm yourself with preventive strategies and knowledge? Physical therapy at Prairie Rehabilitation is a good place to start.

Troy Van Orman, PT at Prairie Rehab & Fitness in Worthington says, “Physical therapy is an excellent place to start with back pain issues. Physical therapists are trained to identify the reasons an individual may be finding it more and more difficult to move and get by day to day due to back pain.” 

By performing a thorough evaluation, a physical therapist can identify the muscular, postural and skeletal limitations that could one day lead to an episode of back pain. “Our team can help identify both the foundational issue for your back pain as well as other possible contributing factors,” says Van Orman. As part of the assessment, your PT will observe as you perform a series of exercises and then gather an account of your daily activity level and environmental factors like operating machinery or working at a desk 40 hours a week. “Performing an evaluation helps us identify the need for a possible referral to your physician for additional assessment if concerns are found during the process,” says Van Orman.

Your PT will then use all of this knowledge to design a personalized exercise program and teach you a few strategies to prevent back pain such as:

  • Use good body positioning at work, home and during recreational activities.
  • Keep the load close to your body during lifting.
  • Ask for help before lifting heavy objects.
  • Maintain a regular physical fitness regimen—staying active can help to prevent injuries.

Lifestyle can also play a big role in back pain. Increasing your activity and avoiding a sedentary lifestyle, completing appropriate exercises that meet your needs, maintaining a healthy weight, and identifying the source of your back pain are all ways that can help improve your day to day function.  

Pay attention to the little things throughout your day that could add up to bigger problems down the line. Let’s go back to that desk job for a minute: How often do you get up to walk, stretch and move throughout the day? A good rule of thumb is to stand up or move every 30 minutes.

 Keep your back muscles strong. Back pain happens when there’s degeneration of the spine due to the spine being overworked. But when you build up enough muscle strength in your back with exercise, the muscles can now give your spine the support it needs to stay healthy. That’s why physical therapy is standard with back pain treatment, but being in shape can help you avoid back pain to begin with. 

Don’t let back pain limit your lifestyle. People who regularly experience back pain often give up or limit activities they enjoy. This interferes with living your life to its fullest. Working with a physical therapist at Prairie Rehab can help you identify the factors that might contribute to back pain and help to develop a prevention plan. “We will educate you and develop a plan to increase activity, progress strength and start the process of change to help you attain a more active and healthier lifestyle,” says Van Orman. 

These recommendations will help you feel better so you can get back to doing what you love. With such good odds that you could someday become a low back pain statistic, why not do everything in your power today to change your trajectory? 

Troy Van Orman, MSPT graduated from the University of South Dakota in 1995 with a Master’s Degree in Physical Therapy. After working at Children’s Care Hospital and School (Lifescape) in Sioux Falls for 6 years, he moved to Worthington, Minnesota to work at Prairie Rehab & Fitness and provide coverage to skilled nursing facilities. Currently Troy manages both of the Worthington Prairie Rehab outpatient clinics. 

Our therapy team at Prairie Rehab is ready to take the next step with you. We would be happy to answer any questions or concerns you may have. 

For those who cannot make it to out to one of our clinics, we also offer our Prairie at Home program. More information on this program can be found here. A full list of our outpatient clinic locations can be found here

About Prairie Rehabilitation 

At Prairie Rehabilitation our Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Hand Therapy and Speech Therapy experts are passionate about helping our patients reclaim their way of life and function. It’s about you; you are unique with distinct qualities, abilities, and needs. At Prairie Rehabilitation we embrace the philosophy of “Patient First” care; treating each individual with precise and personalized care. To achieve the best results and to speed your recovery, we are committed to utilizing the most clinically proven and current concepts in rehabilitation. 

Your Physical Therapist Can Help You Keep Your Resolution

As one year comes to a close and another begins, people begin to set goals and make resolutions. Losing weight, getting to the gym more often or getting into “better shape” are all common. These all require increasing your amount of physical activity. More activity is great for your health, energy levels, sleep, and mood. However, ramping up your activity level too quickly after a holiday season of eating, drinking and being merry can lead to pain, injury and disappointment if your body isn’t ready for it.

Physical therapists at Prairie Rehabilitation are experts in human movement, and can help you safely reach your fitness goals. People think of PT’s as the people to see after an injury, but a visit before you change your activity level could prevent injury in the first place.

Charlie Bigelow, PT at Prairie Rehab says, “Physical therapists are experts at picking up movement imbalances that are often precursors and symptoms of the injury. We can help you with correction of any movement issues, which will decrease the dysfunctional movement pattern thus decrease or minimize the chance that one would be injured in the first place. Our physical therapists can develop a program customized to your needs that will lead you to better overall health.”

An evaluation by your PT at Prairie Rehab will include an assessment of your strength, range of motion, and functional movement patterns – think jumping, running, squatting and carrying. Some of our PT’s like to use a standardized assessment, such as the Functional Movement Screen.

The most common injuries from new fitness routines are caused by underlying weakness, range of motion deficits, or compensatory movement patterns. Your Prairie Rehab PT will find these during your assessment. They can then prescribe exercises or movements to address the issues found and get you safely moving into the New Year.

“Each person that is starting a fitness program should work with one of our professionals to determine the base fitness level and receive an individual fitness prescription to ensure a successful transition to a higher level of activity,” says Bigelow.

The other common way people get injured working toward their resolution is with over-training, or doing too much too soon. Bigelow says, “Too much incorrect activity can lead to increased injuries or increase the injury the person has going into their program.”

Physical therapists at Prairie Rehab are also experts in exercise prescription and program design. Your PT can help you create a routine specific to your needs and goals that will progress appropriately and keep you out of trouble.

So stop only thinking of your PT after you’re injured. In this case, it’s true that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Seeing a physical therapist before you start on your resolution can keep you on track, injury free, and help you reach your goals for the new year.

Charlie Bigelow, PT has been a therapist for 39 years and works in a variety of settings. His training emphasizes treatment of orthopedic and neurological conditions. He provides treatment for all age groups and has a specialized training in the treatment of adults. He works in outpatient clinics and in the long-term care setting. He received specialized training in manual therapy treatments of the entire spine.  He has also received training in posture restoration as well as neurological reeducation techniques in the improvement of functional movement patterns.

Our therapy team at Prairie Rehab is ready to take the next step with you. To schedule an appointment or get more information, please call our main office at 605-334-5630. We would be happy to answer any questions or concerns you may have.

For those who cannot make it to out to one of our clinics, we also offer our Prairie at Home program. More information on this program can be found here. A full list of our outpatient clinic locations can be found here.

About Prairie Rehabilitation

At Prairie Rehabilitation our Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Hand Therapy and Speech Therapy experts are passionate about helping our patients reclaim their way of life and function. It’s about you; you are unique with distinct qualities, abilities, and needs. At Prairie Rehabilitation we embrace the philosophy of “Patient First” care; treating each individual with precise and personalized care. To achieve the best results and to speed your recovery, we are committed to utilizing the most clinically proven and current concepts in rehabilitation.