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"using Physical Therapy For Spine Injuries"

If you have experienced a spinal injury in your back or neck

, chances are your doctor or surgeon has prescribed physical therapy for you. This can often be the only way to fully recover your muscle strength and movement capabilities, and completely eliminate your pain.

There are two types of therapy which are common for these injuries. They are passive, and active.

Passive physical therapy focuses on decreasing pain, and is considered passive because the procedures are done to the patient, not by the patient. Examples of passive therapies include these different methods:

Often PT's will use heat and ice packs for heat therapy and cold therapy. Both heat and ice help reduce muscle spasm and inflammation, and are usually applied for ten to twenty minutes once every two hours.

These treatments are more useful during the first few days of a pain episode, rather than the later days. Additionally, these two therapies may be alternated throughout the course of treatment.

The next treatment is called Iontophoresis. Iontophoresis is a process that delivers steroids through the skin using electrical currents.

Once the steroids penetrate the skin, they produce an anti-inflammatory effect in the area of pain. This process is useful during acute episodes of pain.

The next treatment, and one of the most common, is called a TENS unit, used for electrotherapy. A transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulator, or TENS unit, uses electrical stimulation to override painful signals being sent to the brain in an attempt to relieve lower back pain.

If a patient responds well to a TENS trials, he or she may continue with the treatment at home for long-term low back pain relief. It is very simple, and feels like a slight tickle.

The last treatment used in a passive therapy is an ultrasound. An ultrasound is a form of deep heating in which sound waves are applied to the skin and penetrate the body's soft tissues-this therapy is best used in relieving acute pain and can also aid in tissue healing.

Active physical therapy is the other form used to treat spinal injuries. It is used in addition to passive therapies to rehabilitate the spine.

Most active therapies include stretching and strengthening the back muscles and hamstring, as well as low-impact aerobic conditioning such as walking, bicycling or swimming. These will help to increase your muscle control and promote healing.

Approximately fifteen to twenty minutes of dynamic lumbar stabilization should be done every other day to aid in strengthening the back muscles, and patients should get in the daily habit of stretching the hamstring. Aerobic exercises should be completed three times a week for thirty to forty minutes, but on the days opposite of muscle strengthening exercises.

Because physical therapists are experts in movement and function, they do not confine their talents to treating people who are ill. A large part of a physical therapist's program is directed at preventing injury, loss of movement, and even surgery.

Using physical therapy to recover from back injuries is one of the most common reasons to seek treatment. Some of the things they may have you do while at your appointment are stretches, repetitive strengthening movements, and even using low-impact exercise equipment.

Using an exercise ball is another technique that is commonly used to strengthen the muscles. As an introduction to exercising on the ball, it is often recommended that one simply sit on the exercise ball for thirty minutes a day and bounce lightly, continually finding and maintaining one's balance on the ball.

Another recommended first step on the exercise ball is to find a neutral lumbar spine position. To do this, slouch slightly on the exercise ball, rounding the lower and upper back.

Begin bouncing lightly on the exercise ball, and allow the body to automatically find the straightened posture, which promotes staying balanced while continuing to bounce on the exercise ball.

This balanced position on the exercise ball is also referred to as the center of gravity, where the upper body is balanced on a stable pelvic base. Even a slight change in this neutral posture position will change the center of gravity and require a correction to stay on the exercise ball.

Physical therapy is incredibly important to reclaim your life once again, and wake up without pain. Make an appointment with a PT today, and begin your journey to strength, and total recovery.

by: Tom Selwick
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"using Physical Therapy For Spine Injuries"