Spine therapy relieves pain and makes the back stronger, more flexible & resistant to future strain

Sadly, many back and neck pain sufferers travel from doctor to doctor trying to find relief from recurring back pain symptoms and spasms. Along the way, a doctor may have recommended therapy as a non-surgical treatment option. Unfortunately, some people may be disappointed with the result.

“Part of the problem is that people want immediate symptom relief and are attracted to passive things where they lay on their stomach and someone applies ice, heat or massage,” explains Dr. Enrique Pena, a fellowship-trained specialist in Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation at Texas Spine & Scoliosis. “That may feel good at the time, but long term it cures nothing because they aren’t changing the physiology of your back. The only thing that changes the physiology of your back or neck is surgery — or exercise that strengthens muscles and ligaments in your back, makes them more flexible and then more resistant to strain.”

Dr. Pena notes that a spine center should hold surgery as the last resort, after non–surgical treatment options like therapy and spinal injections have been exhausted.

“Manual therapy and manipulation can relieve pain symptoms which enables the patient to move into a customized exercise prescription and stretches,” Dr. Pena explains.

“The result is that pain relief is achieved not passively, but through active movement of the joints and tissues. The back pain sufferer needs to understand that pain pills only mask symptoms. Customized stretches can help repair and strengthen soft tissues and tendons. Simply put, movement is like lubricant for your back or neck.  Bed rest and inactivity merely weakens bones and muscles and causes further disability. Even a simple 20 minute walk can be good for a sore back. Research has shown that the more you restrict movement, the harder and longer your rehabilitation. Some research notes that you need a 20 minute walk just to counter the effect of three hours lying down.”

“At Texas Spine & Scoliosis, we want the patient to be well-informed about the causes of back and neck pain and what really works to free yourself from recurring back pain attacks,” summarizes Dr. Pena. “We focus on a more permanent relief of back pain, rather than a temporary one.”