How To Treat The Physical And Psychological Symptoms Of Back Pain

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There are few chronic problems more debilitating than back pain. In fact, it's the number one cause of chronic pain in the country. When you can't move because of severe pain, you cease being able to accomplish the necessary tasks in your life, essential things like working and parenting. An extended period of restricted movement and chronic pain almost always leads to anxiety and depression. Fortunately, doctors are learning that they need to address all aspects of chronic pain, both physical and psychological, in order to provide full care. The answer to this problem is the functional restoration program. More and more chronic pain and back specialists are implementing functional restoration programs into their treatment options. This program addresses the following issues associated with chronic back pain.

Restoration of Daily Physical Function

One of the main goals of a functional restoration program, or FRP, is the restoration of daily physical function to patients. Many patients come to an FRP after surgery or previous treatment has failed to eliminate their pain. The FRP is designed to help them find ways to improve movement and function even with pain through exercises and training that will build muscle strength and endurance. This training might include weight-bearing, cardio-pulmonary, and stretching exercises.

Psychological Management

In the past, treating chronic pain often stopped at the physical level, but doctors are beginning to understand that complete treatment for chronic back pain must include psychological treatment as well. That's because chronic pain suffers often begin build fear and anxiety around their pain. They're afraid to do anything that might trigger the pain. An FRP gives patients tools for coping with the fear and anxiety that come with pain.


Functional restoration programs are having very positive results for participating patients. One study compared participants in an FRP program with participants in an active individual physical therapy program, all suffering from chronic lower back pain. Although all participants in both programs showed improvement, the participants in the FRP program all achieved better results in every measured area including endurance, pain scores, anxiety, depression, work ability, resumption of sport and leisure activities, etc. Another study looked at the ability of people suffering from chronic low-back pain to return to work after participating in an FRP program. The study followed patients before, during, and after their FRP program for three and a half years. The results were very positive, with 55% of patients able to return to work and all patients showing improvement in their quality of life and function.

If you have questions about the treatment options that are available to you, contact an office like Inland Pain Medicine.