Welcome to Peak Sports and Spine Physical Therapy. We are your Physical Therapist Specialists on the East Side and North Seattle!
People everyday walk around doing their normal activities with lower back pain. It is the most common musculoskeletal ailment, and the leading cause of disability in the world. Everyones lower back pain will be different. There are a lot of moving parts that all have to work correctly for you to have normal pain free function. Pain can be from a muscle strain, ligament sprain, arthritis, inflammation, disc issue, or many other issues. A lot of people think that their pain will just “go away” and don’t think they have injured themselves until it continues to get worse. By getting your back checked out by a physical therapist as soon as you feel something different, will allow your body to get the immediate treatment it needs to help relieve the cause of pain, and inhibit it from getting worse.
Herniated Disc/Degenerative Disc Disease
A herniated disc is when there has been enough pressure that has been placed on one side of the spine, that the disc fluid is pushed opposite and will over stretch the lining and cause a bulge or herniation. It can be very painful when it happens and the subsequent symptoms. Sometimes people will have a herniated disc, and never have any pain in the lower back, only along some area of the buttocks or leg to the foot. This is because the disc is putting pressure on a nerve root that will occlude the nerve symptoms to where the nerve leads to. Degenerative disc disease can be very similar in the symptoms people may have, but it is not from the bulging of a disc, rather than the shortening of the disc height over time. This can be more common as we get older and still stay active with a lot of physical force that we put on our backs. Treatment for both will consist of manual therapy, strengthening and teaching certain and very specific positioning and movements to take pressure off the nerve roots, whether from the shortening of the disc or the herniation. Core strength and stability is also very important to be able to support the area and eventually prevent any further slippage or damage.
Stenosis is the narrowing of the spaces in the spine. The narrowing can put pressure on the spinal cord or the nerve rots, and give pain and other symptoms down the path of that nerve, or both sides of the nerve if it is the spinal cord. The difference between stenosis and a herniated disc, is the cause is from bony changes through the vertebrae and spine, not from the soft tissue of a disc. Depending on what area is being pinched, you can have symptom on 1 side of you back and leg, on through both sides of your back and down both legs. One big difference between stenosis and herniated disc is with stenosis symptoms are relieved with sitting or rest and not so with herniated disc. A lot can cause spinal stenosis including your age, arthritis, family history, spondylolisthesis, and trauma. Physical Therapy can help relieve pain symptoms, restore flexibility and strength so you can maintain your ability to walk and function.
There are many different types of surgeries that can be performed on the lower back. The same surgery can be performed on many different people and outcomes will be different in everyone depending on your body. From spinal fusions, to laminectomies, micro discectomies, or a clean up to get rid of arthritis, lower back surgery is major surgery and needs to recover at your own pace. Usually your doctor will give your restrictions on bending, lifting, sitting, standing. They are important directions to follow, as well as the guidance and treatment plans you come up with with you therapist. Depending on the surgery and desired functional level you want to return back to, a specific plan of mobility, stability, and power will be created and work towards your specific goals.
Spondylolisthesis, occurs on the lower back when 1 vertebrae slips over the other. This can cause a fracture between the parts each vertebrae that form the joint ad well as other structures depending on the severity. On the other hand, fractures of certain areas called the Pars Articularis, can also cause slippage of the vertebrae. When the vertebrae move, symptoms can range from a lower back ache to numbness and tingling down both legs. Usually people with this have trouble extending through their lower back, because of how the vertebrae are now aligned. It can be common in gymnastics due to the pressure and constant extension through the back. Treatment will consist a lot on positioning to take the pressure off the area. In order to keep all the structures in the correct alignment, core strengthening is very important and a specific program will be designed for your impairments.