The monthly KUTV Ask The Expert event took calls about back pain with television interviews. The topics ranged from types of pain, physical therapy and other treatment options.
There is not a need for surgery for every back injury. Haley Jones, certified athletic trainer at Intermountain Valley Sports Medicine, explained there are several non-surgical approaches to treating back pain.
“There is formal physical therapy that a doctor can refer you to and they really focus on that core strength,” Jones said. “There is medications if a doctor sees that it would be helpful.”
Jones added that the medications “are just to help the pain while you are doing the physical therapy.”
Other conservative treatment options include using back braces, home exercise and injections. The exercises focus on core and hamstring stretching. Injections can also be helpful.
A new clinic has recently opened and is solely focused on helping those battling osteoporosis. The TOSH Healthy Bones Clinic works to help address the symptoms that come with osteoporosis such as neck and back pain.
“Sometimes it can feel like the worst pain of your life and it’s hard to imagine that you can better in a week or two after a bad back episode,” said Rachel Decker, nurse practitioner at the Intermountian’s TOSH Healthy Bones Clinic.
The Healthy Bones Clinic uses a nurse practitioner and a physical therapist in a team approach to evaluate problems. The clinic then works to help people regain mobility and alleviate the pain.
Not every pain requires a pill. There are alternative options for back pain according to Justin Burr, physical therapist at Intermountain’s McKay-Dee Hospital.
The first step is to get an evaluation to determine where the pain is coming from in the back. Then your physical therapist will assign certain stretches and exercise to help eliminate the pain.
“Sometimes it’s just getting the right muscles to contract in the right way,” Burr said. “If you see a physical therapist, they can find which ones that you need those exercise for and then go from there.”
It’s a natural response to go for the chair or bed if you hurt your back. Yet that option will actually do more harm than good.
“A lot of patients when they come in are really worried and are in a lot of pain, so they don’t want move. Because movement causes more pain,” said Decker.
Not moving creates a counter-effect where the muscles stiffen and it is harder to stop the pain. Instead a healthy dose of exercise and stretching will go a long way.
Therapy treatments include using cardiovascular exercise, strengthen the back and abdomen muscles and include stretching.
For more about Ask The Expert, visit the KUTV website.