Physical Therapy for Spondylolisthesis: Types and Benefits
Does your lower back pain never seem to go away? Can’t even play your favourite sports because of persistent leg pain? You might be a patient of spondylolisthesis.
Spondylolisthesis is a spinal anomaly that occurs when one vertebra slips under another below it. The condition can be harrowing and can cause many problems. The significant areas of pain are the spinal cord and legs. While many treatments are made, surgical ones are inconvenient and expensive. And simply taking pain medication does more harm than good.
But physical therapy is an excellent and affordable way to get rid of this problem. If you want to get relief from the intense pain of spondylolisthesis, you can contact spine doctors from New York Pain Care for the best treatment. But before you do that, read some basic details about physical therapy and its benefits below.
Types of Physical Therapy
Physical therapy simply refers to a set of non-invasive procedures that chiefly include exercise and mobility regimens. Here are some of its types used for spondylolisthesis treatment.
1. Passive Therapy
Passive therapy is a way to make your body feel relaxed. It doesn't include any vigorous exercise or physical activity. Passive therapy aims to get your body ready for active therapy. Some ways of passive therapy are:-
Deep Tissue Massage
As your body is responding to a slipped vertebrae, it will have stiffness. Before you start any physical therapy, it is crucial to get rid of this stiffness. A deep tissue massage is a therapeutic massage that reduces the tension in your body.
A deep tissue massage reduces back pain and inflammation by applying pressure to the sub-layer of muscles. The aim of the massage is to eliminate joint restrictions, knots, and attraction in muscles.
Hot therapy is an effective way to improve your body’s blood circulation. The idea of hot therapy is to reinforce the damaged parts with enough blood to speed up the recovery process. It is a common way to deal with many disorders and inflammable injuries.
Hot therapy removes stiffness, improves blood circulation, and reduces inflammation in the body. The effect of hot therapy on back pain is unmatchable. It reduces back pain dramatically and helps the vertebrae to be relaxed and flexible. Hot therapy is a great way to manage spondylolisthesis-induced back pain.
Cold therapy is applied in alternation with hot therapy. In contrast to hot therapy, cold therapy, also known as cryotherapy, has its own benefits.By reducing the blood circulation to the painful region it helps in reducing spasms and inflammation. Cold therapy is done in different ways.
The therapist can put an ice bag on the injured part to make it super cold and reduce the blood flow. Another way to do cold therapy is by using a fluoromethane spray to reduce the temperature. After the cold treatment, the therapist works with the patient to relax their body.
Ultrasound is a less popular yet effective way to improve blood circulation in the body. It uses ultrasonic waves to stimulate blood circulation in the body tissues. The ultrasonic sound waves are passed through the tissues with pressure such that the blood receives the pressure and reaches the injured part.
Ultrasound also generates gentle heat in the body, which helps heal the body. It helps in removing spasms and reducing inflammation in the body.
Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) is a special passive therapy device used to reduce spasms and inflammation. The machine simulates body muscle through electrical signals and reacts accordingly to give the best results. It is increasingly used in passive therapy nowadays. Moreover, TENS can also help the body to increase endorphin production, which is a natural painkiller.
TENS is a quick and easy way to get rid of spasms as you need not do anything on your own. Your doctor will just put your body under TENS, and the machine will do the needful. Of course, the doctor will continually supervise it.
2. Active Therapy
As you complete your passive therapy and your muscles relax and open up, it’s time to move forward. With active therapy, the doctor generates constant heat in your body to get rid of spondylolisthesis. It is a supervised and personalized way to get rid of the problem.
Active therapy is to be considered as a continuation of passive therapy. As the therapist notes down your body's responses to passive therapy, they will tell you the correct exercise and physical work to do to improve your condition. Active therapy is very subjective and highly tailored to the patient's needs.
Active therapy is more physical and needs effort from the patient to complete the therapy sessions. Self-care is a significant part of physical therapy. If self-care and medication are ignored, active treatment cannot be successful.
Benefits of Therapy
Strengthens spine muscle
Physical therapy improves the blood circulation in the body. It helps in improving body posture. The constant flow of blood also implies that the spine muscles get more blood. In spondylolisthesis, this increased blood flow is beneficial as it strengthens the spine muscles.
Strong spine muscles also help in providing better support to the backbone and improving posture. As your posture improves and spine muscles strengthen, you experience lesser pain and discomfort.
Targets the Pain Source
Pain medications are a good way to temporarily get rid of spondylolisthesis pain. However, they only mask the pain for a few hours instead of treating it. That’s not the case with physical therapy.
Physical therapists usually target the source of the pain and design exercises to relieve the area. This makes sure that your pain isn't just masked but is treated. This way, physical therapy for spondylolisthesis helps you get long-term relief from pain.
Medications and surgery, as mentioned before, come with plenty of side effects. These side effects can sometimes deteriorate your quality of life even if you get relief from your spondylolisthesis pain. But physical therapy does not have any side effects.
Physical therapy only involves exercise and non-invasive procedures. So you won't have to worry about the after-effects of your pain relief treatment.
For spondylolisthesis patients, there are few other treatment methods that work as effectively as physical therapy. Its various techniques help you live a comfortable and pain-free life. Moreover, it is easy, affordable, and non-invasive. So to get rid of the troubling pain of spondylolisthesis in the easiest possible way, start with physical therapy right away!