Studies indicate that 70 – 85% of all men and women will develop low back pain at some point in their lives. Not surprisingly, in this year about half of the American workforce will suffer from some form of this leading cause of activity limitation. Furthermore, almost everyone has experienced neck pain at one point in their life. Pain in our spine can be easily seen as one of the most frequent and widespread human health conditions today. Several steps can be taken to effectively maximize your recovery and reduce the likelihood of future low back injury and growing pain. Whether you have had a surgical fixation of your spine, chronic low back pain, neck pain, or acute low back issues any spine can benefit from a comprehensive dynamic spine stabilization program.
The spine is an incredible structure with many unique features which allow for large ranges of motion and astonishing force absorption and transmission. For example, it will enable you to swing a golf club, throw a baseball, and at the same time withstand and transfers tremendous forces. It is composed of bones, discs, joints, tendons, muscles, ligaments and nerves. The spine has three main functions: 1) It connects the pelvis to the trunk and head, 2) It protects and houses the spinal cord and 3) the spine provides stability, balance, flexibility, and mobility for us to perform our daily activities.
Understanding the Rehabilitation Process: There are four main phases to the rehabilitation process with each period maintaining specific challenges and goals. These four phases are referred to as:
- Protection Phase
- Motion Phase
- Strength Phase
- Functional Return Phase
Protection Phase: In this phase, we are primarily concerned with the protection of the injured region to prevent any exacerbation of the initial injury, reduce pain, inflammation, and muscle spasm/guarding. We use a variety of modalities and manual therapy to control pain and promote healing. The protection phase will consist primarily of muscle activation exercise, education, and rest.
Motion Phase: During this phase, you will begin to experience a reduction in pain and inflammation, which improves the circulation and mobility. The decrease in pain is accomplished by walking, stretching, and performing painless low-level strengthening exercise. The exercise will deliver the proper building blocks, remove inflammation and waste products that build up in sensitive tissue(s), and prevent muscle atrophy. These advancements will allow us to better challenge the stability of your spine with the introduction of specific therapeutic exercise interventions.
Strength Phase: This phase involves correcting the impairments (weakness, poor posture, poor flexibility) that caused the problem. Progressive core strengthening exercises, total body strengthening, stretching, and postural/body mechanics education will help reduce the stress on your spine, promote proper healing and reduce the chance of recurrence.
Functional Return Phase: The final stage of rehabilitation addresses the ultimate achievement of full strength in the muscles and neuromuscular control responsible for the stabilization of the spine. A variety of functional drills are designed to help you move with better coordination. If appropriate, sport- specific drills are incorporated in this phase. At the end of this phase, you should be returning to most of your recreational and activities of daily living. Additionally, you will see improved strength and full range of motion in your spine to return to your previous level of function.
Conclusion: Any spine can benefit from a comprehensive dynamic spine stabilization program. To maximize these benefits, our team of professionals will make sure you leave us knowing and understanding your plan moving forward.