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Frequently Asked Questions

Is my condition going to get better?
Yes. Back pain is a very common condition that affects 60 to 80% of adults during their lifetime. Most cases of low back pain are benign and resolve on their own within 4 to 6 weeks. However, the risk of re-injury has been reported to be as high as 80% in the first year. Therefore it is important that you learn how to care for you back to prevent this from occurring. Your doctor and physical therapist will provide you with the necessary tools to help you care for your back.

How can I get the pain under control?
During the initial 4 to 6 weeks after your injury, research indicates that non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications are effective for pain management. In addition, research suggests that resuming normal activities as soon as possible within established guidelines is more effective than bed rest and immobility for reducing pain and disability associated with back pain.

How long will I need to be in therapy?
This will depend on your condition. Our research suggests that 98% of patients with low back pain will require an average of 20 sessions of physical therapy over 10 weeks. Your doctor and physical therapist will work with you to develop the most effective and cost-efficient plan of care to meet your needs.

When can I get back to my normal routine?
Research suggests that returning to normal activity as soon as possible will increase your rate of recovery, reduce your pain, and reduce your chance of long-term disability associated with low back pain. Your doctor and physical therapist will help you develop a plan to return to your normal routine as quickly as appropriate.

What can I do at home to get better?
You can begin to resume your normal daily activities and lifestyle. Your recovery will be faster if you avoid bed rest and inactivity. When appropriate, your doctor and physical therapist will recommend that you begin an exercise program that may be performed at home to assist in your recovery.

Is my condition considered bad?
Most cases of low back pain are benign, however, only your doctor can determine if your pain is the result of a serious condition. If you have an episode of low back pain, you should consult with your doctor to determine the most appropriate plan of care.

How common is my condition?
Back pain is the second most commonly reported bodily pain next to a headache. It is among the most common conditions that generate a referral to physical therapy. Back pain affects 60 to 80% of adults during their lifetime. The professionals at The Spine Institute are specially trained to meet your needs and are fully confident that they can help you achieve your goals.

What is the chance that my back problems will reoccur after they resolve?
Research suggests that the risk of re-injury is high, up to 80% in the first year. The most significant risk factor for future episodes of back pain is a previous history of low back pain. It is important that you learn how to care for your back to decrease the risk for future problems.

How do I restrict my activity so I don’t re-injure my back?
Your doctor and physical therapist will provide you with the necessary tools to minimize your risk of re-injury. Research indicates that regular exercise is an essential component to the management and prevention of back pain. When appropriate, your doctor and physical therapist will prescribe an exercise program that will help you to achieve your goals.

Is there any kind of follow-up after I am discharged from The Spine Institute?
Yes. Your doctor and physical therapist will establish your follow-up schedule before you are released from the Institute. The routine schedule requests that you return to The Spine Institute at 1-, 3-, 6- and 12-months after discharge do that your progress may be reassessed.

Who is going to communicate my progress to the doctor?
The staff at The Spine Institute will communicate your plan of care and progress to your doctor every 2 to 4 weeks.

Who is going to communicate my progress to the doctor?
The staff at The Spine Institute will communicate your plan of care and progress to your doctor every 2 to 4 weeks.

What if I have questions after discharge?
You may contact us at (318) 212-7746

What makes some people more prone to low back pain than others?
Risk factors for the development of low back pain include:

  • Previous history of back pain - most significant risk factor
  • Age - risk is greatest from 35 to 55 years then decreases
  • Gender - males = females
  • Poor general health
  • Low levels of physical fitness
  • Sedentary lifestyle - low levels of daily physical activity
  • Job dissatisfaction
  • Poor workplace environment / low levels of coworker support and/or collaboration
  • Physically demanding work (self-perceived)
  • Smoking
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Psychological distress
  • Pregnancy - risk increases with increasing number of vaginal deliveries
  • Obesity - Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or greater
  • Exposure to vibration (>1 hour per day)
  • Prolonged driving in car (>1 hour day)
  • Repetitive heavy lifting (>35 pounds or more for >75% of day)
  • Repetitive bending and twisting (>4 hours/day)

It seems like most people I know have had back pain at one time or another. Is it really that serious a problem?
Considering that almost 80% of the adult population will encounter some form of back pain, it could be said that back pain is a universal epidemic. Back pain recognizes no age, economic, or ethnic barriers. In the United States, back pain is reported to occur at least once in 85% of adults below the age of 50. Most will have at least one recurrence. It is the second most common illness-related reason given for a missed workday and the most common cause of disability. Work-related back injury is the number one occupational hazard.

Is there anything I can do to help my low back pain?
Some 6.5 million Americans are treated for low back pain each day. Getting medical attention early is very important to successful treatment because it can reduce the number of times back pain recurs.

I want to avoid surgery. What can I do?
Most people want to avoid surgery, but keep in mind it's not surgery you want to avoid- it's unnecessary surgery. Some conditions will only respond to surgery, and for those, surgery is the right option. If surgery is recommended right away, you'll want to be sure that it has been documented that surgery is the only option that has been proven to work for your condition. On the other hand, some back pain will get better on its own. Some will get better with medications, some with medication and therapy. In these cases, you and your doctor should discuss a variety of options and try them in progression before determining that surgery is best for you.

Once I’ve scheduled my appointment with The Spine Institute, are there any admission forms or questionnaires to fill out prior to my appointment at The Spine Institute?
Yes. Forms are available for download. To view these forms, please click here.