You’re Not Alone

Nine out of 10 patients don’t know the primary cause of their back pain. The problem is that most people seek treatment after they’ve begun exhibiting symptoms of back pain. While this may seem logical on the surface, we’re here to tell you that there’s a better way. The key is to go to a physical therapist before you begin to see the signs and symptoms of back pain. I’m sure that right about now you’re asking, “Why would I do that?” One, because physical therapists are trained to recognize the physical dysfunctions that may one day lead to back pain. And two, because eight out of 10 Americans suffer from low back pain at some point in their lives, so the chances are good that you could become a statistic one day.

How To Prevent Back Pain

Seeing a physical therapist on an annual basis is one of the most effective ways to prevent back pain from occurring in the first place. Doesn’t that sound like the better alternative? Great, now that you’re on board, let’s talk about what you can expect during that annual physical therapy appointment. The first time you go, your physical therapist will collect a complete picture of your medical history. During subsequent visits, it’ll be important to update your physical therapist about any changes to your health during the previous 12 months, but it won’t be necessary to review your entire medical history again.

Examination

Next, your physical therapist will perform an examination using a variety of tests and measures including a movement screen. A movement screen is a screening tool that’s designed to identify imbalances in your mobility and stability that may contribute to limited function or other impairments. This gives your PT the ability to see how your back, hips, core, shoulders, knees and ankles perform during a series of carefully selected exercises.

“So often we focus on our cardiovascular health, weight loss or toning and often forget flexibility and mobility are the main deficits we need to treat as people get older. The first thing I prescribe my patients after the initial evaluation is stretching and mobility exercises that help reduce tension, improve function and keep you moving better for longer.”  Doctor of Physical Therapy Mary Kate Casey

Preventive Measure

The information gathered during an examination helps your physical therapist to identify changes from one year to the next, a critical step in assessing your risk for back pain and a host of other debilitating conditions. If a problem is identified early enough, then your physical therapist is better equipped to discuss preventive measures instead of designing a treatment plan. And that’s how you identify the root cause of back pain and derail issues before they even begin. Mystery solved.  

Mary Kate Casey-Wallenberg- Founder and Co-Owner of The FIT Institute. Doctor of Physical Therapy and Certified Movement Specialist. Four Time National Champion Lacrosse Player (Northwestern University)

The FIT Institute is a physical therapy and sports performance facility in North Center. We increase the longevity of an athlete’s career by teaching proper movement patterns that often lead to overuse injuries, we do this by bridging the gap between physical therapy and sports performance.