Johnny Case, DPT, OCS, COMT, CMP, CSCS, specially trained spine physical therapist at CSMO, shares his insights on why you should consider spine therapy before seeing a surgeon.
“When it comes to treating back pain, movement is one of the highest concerns. That’s why spine physical therapists are specifically trained on body mechanics and how the body moves,” says Johnny. “We have in-depth knowledge of musculoskeletal issues and use a physical exam to determine if physical therapy would be beneficial in treating a person’s back or neck pain. This hands-on approach is critical in finding the source of the pain and understanding whether or not we can help.”
One way spine PTs evaluate neck and back pain is to put gentle pressure on the affected area. Spine therapists do this by assessing the spine, going down each level to find the source of the pain. Pain could likely be improved by introducing movement to the area of the spine to relax overly tightened muscles. They do this by oscillating or moving the joint to help the muscles around that joint relax.
“When you have spine or other joint pain, your muscles subconsciously guard and protect that area, which leads to stiffness and reduced flexibility above and below the impacted joint,” says Johnny. “Hands-on techniques get the joint moving again, which decreases pain and restores mobility.”
Spine PT Can Ease the Pain
If you’re unsure about seeing a spine physical therapist for back pain before seeing a surgeon, there are several reasons why it’s a smart move. First, most insurance companies require physical therapy before spine surgery can be approved. Second, you can schedule an evaluation quickly, and many people start getting relief right away. If the evaluation indicates an issue that would require further imaging, the therapist can reach out to one of our other providers on the spine team to get those scheduled quickly.
“There are instances where we know immediately that physical therapy isn’t the right approach for someone with spinal pain. When these red flags come up during an exam, we do not continue treatment until we screen with imaging to get a clearer picture of what’s happening,” explains Johnny.
Johnny notes that if you’re willing to seek back pain advice and care from a chiropractor, who has a similar level of training as a therapist with a doctorate degree and extra training in spine care, then you should consider an evaluation with one of Center for Sports Medicine’s spine specialists.
“Although it may seem counterintuitive to see a therapist before going to the surgeon, having a spine therapist evaluate your condition and begin treatment can go a long way toward introducing movement to the spine and easing the pain,” he says. “Even if an epidural or other procedure is needed in the future, specialized spine PT can provide significant symptom relief throughout the process and/or significantly delay the need for surgical intervention.”
Find Lasting Relief
If you are experiencing neck or back pain, CSMO spine physical therapists are here to help. Call (423) 624-2696 to schedule your initial evaluation today.