Relieve Back Pain with a Unique Form of Muscle Manipulation - Virtua Article

Relieve Back Pain with a Unique Form of Muscle Manipulation

By , Neuromusculoskeletal Medicine & Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine—Virtua Medical Group

It’s estimated that ¾ of all Americans will experience some form of back pain during their lifetime. Although low back pain can be painful and debilitating, in about 90 percent of all cases, pain improves without surgery. However, half of all patients who experience low back pain will have a recurrent episode within one year. Common causes include herniated discs, lumbar spinal stenosis (narrowing in the spinal canal) and osteoarthritis.

The typical treatment for lower back pain is to wait it out for a few weeks and treat pain with medications like acetaminophen, ibuprofen or muscle relaxers. If the pain remains, then physical therapy is often prescribed to improve posture and strengthen the core muscles to better support the lumbar region. If persistent numbness, weakness or neurological changes occur, then surgical intervention could be necessary.

Another Option for Back Pain Relief

I offer patients another option—osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT). OMT involves using the hands to diagnose, treat and prevent illness or injury. I move muscles and joints using various techniques including stretching, gentle pressure and resistance. The treatment specifically addresses injuries to connective tissues. When pain is chronic due to conditions such as spondylosis (osteoarthritis of the spine), OMT provides relief and supports mobility, even though it won’t cure arthritis.

In February 2016, a study published in the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association found that just 6 sessions of OMT over an 8-week period reduced pain and improved function in patients suffering from chronic, non-specific low back pain. Additionally, patients reporting the worst pain and higher degrees of disability received the most substantial benefit from the treatments.

Though osteopathic treatment is very gentle, patients can occasionally experience some discomfort during certain stages of the treatment, or even a day or two later. When this occurs, it’s simply a part of the healing process. As the treatment progresses, the discomfort subsides.

Each patient’s experience is unique. Some patients sense only a gentle touch or a deep sense of relaxation, while others feel their bodies change immediately. Almost all patients, however, feel a distinct change following the treatment. 

Updated July 11, 2017

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