Clinical Conversations

Chronic Low Back Pain

A few months ago, I treated a young Portland area woman who was suffering from low back pain. “Beth” had been in a car accident 10 months prior to my evaluation.  She was rating her worst pain as a 9/10 and was moderately limited with walking, sitting, bending and lifting. Because of the pain associated with these activities, Beth was limited with her duties as a student nurse, and somewhat concerned with how her back condition will affect the rest of her life.  Beth had been to a chiropractor and to a different physical therapy clinic, neither of which proved to have any lasting benefits.

Beth’s objective findings included what mechanical therapists call a “Left Shift” in standing.  This means that her shoulders were not centered over her hips, but rather, off to the left side.  We know this as a relevant lateral component and is typically associated with a derangement (something out of alignment or out of place).   Beth also demonstrated limited, painful movements of the spine; primarily in the frontal plane.

The exercise to correct Beth’s shift and reduce her derangement was repeated right side glide in standing.  Beth was able to perform this exercise throughout her day to decrease her pain and by 3 weeks out, she was reporting little to no pain.  Beth was then able to begin core strengthening exercises, after her pain was gone, and get back to her duties as a nursing student.  At our last treatment visit, Beth told me that she was able to work multiple 12 hour shifts as a nurse without any pain!

If the physical therapy treatment you are receiving does not get feeling better within 1 or 2 weeks, find something that works!