Spine Therapy vs. Conventional Physical Therapy Is There Really a Difference?

By Robert Medcalf, PT, OCS, Dip MDT

For patients who suffer with back or neck pain, physical therapy is one of many conservative options available to assist in their recovery. Over the years, conventional physical therapy for the spinal pain sufferer consisted of hot packs, ultrasound, electrical stimulation, generalized massage, and nonspecific exercises. While most current physical therapy clinical practice guidelines do not support the use of passive modalities for neck and back pain, their use is still common.

Screen Shot 2019-01-25 at 11.05.29 AMModalities:

•Can provide patients with short term pain relief

•Have not been shown to accelerate the recovery time of patients with painful spinal disorders.

•Because some of the treatments provide temporary, soothing relief of the pain, they have the potential to cause the patient to become dependent on them. When the relief wears off, the patient may feel compelled to return for more treatments. Besides being very costly, these treatments fail to progress the patient toward recovery of function.

Physical therapists utilizing modern methods of treatment generally believe that patients should be active participants in their physical therapy programs. These spine therapists utilize an evidence-based approach to treatment. This includes an emphasis on empowering the patient to manage his or her own condition. The ultimate goal is to teach patients specific procedures that they can use to gain rapid pain control, which ultimately will lead to their recovery. The methods used are directionally specific exercises, postural and ergonomic advice.

Manual therapy is also an important treatment component and is used as needed to assist in the recovery process. Manual therapy involves skilled, hands-on techniques to reduce pain, improve range of motion and function, and enhance the patient’s own self-treatment procedures.

Spine focused physical therapy as
described above:

•Leads to a rapid recovery from the current back pain episode.

•Provides the patient with a long-term benefit and a chance to prevent future recurrences.

•If the patient does experience a recurrence, knowledge of the self-treatment methods to promptly apply allows the patient to rapidly recover from this setback. This is especially important considering the very high recurrence rate of painful spinal disorders.

The physical therapists at Resurgens Spine Center are committed to assisting our patients in achieving lasting symptom relief and recovery of lost function. Our therapists have received post-graduate training in the most modern methods of spinal treatment.

Resurgens Spine Center • Non-surgical & Surgical Spine Care • 24 Convenient Atlanta Locations •ResurgensSpine.com

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