Spine Specialist Near Me in St. Louis
Spine specialist near me in St. Louis. Lower back pain and spine injuries can make normal activities like laying down painful, and disrupt how our bodies function. For athletes, it can keep you from being at the top of their game. For workers, it can prevent you from providing for your St. Louis family. For others, it can keep us from taking walks or playing with our grandkids as we’d like to. Physical therapists with a spine specialty can help you get back to what you love doing most. Through safe and proven exercises and treatment plans, Axes Physical Therapy can help you achieve the strength, flexibility, and pain relief your body needs to function, and that you need to live your best life. If you’re ready to finally move on from a crippling back condition, request an appointment with an Axes St. Louis spine specialist, or reach out to the Axes location nearest you.
Missouri law requires a prescription for physical therapy. If you’re recovering from a back or neck injury, or are living with chronic pain, ask your doctor if physical therapy with a St. Louis spine specialist can be safe and effective for you. In the meantime, take advantage of one of our free injury screenings.
The Human Spine
The spine is our central support structure, and plays a fundamental role in most movements and how the body communicates with itself. It extends from the base of your brain to your tailbone. The spine consists of:
The spine has 33 vertebrae, which are small bones that stack on top of each other to form the spinal canal. Every vertebra has a hole in the center to protect the spinal cord and its nerves. The vertebrae are grouped into five regions. There are:
- 7 vertebrae in the cervical region (your neck)
- 12 vertebrae in the thoracic region (your middle back)
- 5 vertebrae in the lumbar region (your lower back)
- 5 vertebrae in the sacrum region (the triangle shaped bone that connects to the hips)
- 4 vertebrae in the coccyx region (your tailbone)
The 24 vertebrae in the first 3 regions are the only ones that can move; the others are fused into place.
Facet joints are the small joints that connect the bony tips of vertebrae on the back of the spine. They allow your back and neck to extend, bend, twist, and rotate. They are lined with cartilage and lubricated with synovial fluid, allowing healthy bones and joints to safely glide and slide during movement.
Discs are the flat, round cushions between the vertebrae that act as shock absorbers. There is one disc between each vertebra. Discs have a “gel-like” center called the nucleus pulposus, which allows for mobility and absorption, and an outer ring of tough fibers called the annulus fibrosus that protect the disc and connect the vertebrae.
The spinal cord is a collection of nerves that travel through the vertebrae, extending from the brain to your lumbar region, where the nerves go into the lower part of your body. The spinal cord is protected by spinal fluid and a membrane called dura mater. The nerves branch out to other parts of the body through openings in the vertebrae called the neural foramen. The spinal cord is how our bodies and brains communicate.
The spine also has muscles, ligaments, and tendons. The ligaments connect vertebrae, hold them together, and give them structure. The tendons attach muscles to the vertebrae, and the muscles are what powers the spine’s movement.
A healthy spine relies on all of these systems to function properly and in unison to achieve optimal movement health and a pain free life. A variety of conditions can make the spine damaged or unhealthy, which can severely limit your ability to enjoy the activities you love most. When that happens, a St. Louis spine specialist like Axes’ physical therapists can provide safe and effective relief.
What Conditions Can a Spine Specialist in St. Louis Help With?
The American College of Physicians recommends a variety of physical therapy treatments for lower back pain and neck pain. Whether you’re living with chronic pain or recently suffered a sports injury or work injury, Axes’ St. Louis spine specialists can help get you feeling great again. Some of the common conditions we treat in St. Louis include:
- Disc Injuries — Herniated discs and bulging discs can be caused by either an injury or wear and tear from aging. They put pressure on a nerve which can cause severe pain along your neck and back and limit strength. Degenerative disc disease occurs as a natural result of aging, and greatly decreases flexibility.
- Sciatica — Sciatica is an umbrella term for irritation of the sciatic nerve, which is the largest nerve in the body and originates in the lower spine. It can lead to crippling pain, weakness, numbness and tingling down one side of your body.
- Spinal Stenosis — Stenosis occurs when the spinal cavity becomes too narrow and puts pressure on the spinal cord and nerves. It can cause pain, balance issues, and numbness or tingling in the extremities.
- Spinal Arthritis — Arthritis is the inflammation of the facet joints. It occurs as the cartilage between the joints wears down over time or from over-exertion. It can also be caused by autoimmune disorders. There are over 100 types of arthritis, most of which can affect the spine.
- Axial Back Pain — Also called nonspecific back pain, this refers to pain that doesn’t have a known, recognizable cause. Common causes are obesity or poor posture.
Physical therapy can also help with muscle strains, whiplash, and other more acute injuries.
Whatever is causing your back pain or injury, our St. Louis spine specialists will work with you and your doctor to come up with an evidence-backed treatment plan to get you back to the activities you love and a pain-free life. While some conditions, like arthritis or stenosis, can’t be “cured,” physical therapy can be part of a holistic treatment plan that eases symptoms and returns optimal mobility.
If your spine condition requires surgery, we offer pre- and post-surgical rehab in St. Louis to help your surgery go as well as possible.
Benefits of Working With a Physical Therapy Spine Specialist in St. Louis
Physical therapy is becoming an increasingly popular non-invasive treatment plan for a variety of musculoskeletal conditions. According to a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, physical therapy is just as effective as surgery for certain types of back pain, and doesn’t involve the same risk of complications. Early intervention by a licensed St. Louis physical therapist is proven to reduce the risk of long-term opioid use.
A spine specialist like those at Axes Physical Therapy will be able to find the root cause of your back problems, and build a treatment plan based on your medical history, your age, and the lifestyle you wish to achieve or get back to. Through a variety of exercises and techniques, physical therapy can reduce pain, improve the function of your spine by improving strength and flexibility, increase range of motion.
Physical Therapy for Spine Conditions
Depending on your specific condition, your St. Louis spine specialist at Axes may implement some of the following practices to help get you back to what you love doing most:
- Hands-On Care — Our St. Louis manual therapists are experts at using subtle manipulations and stretches to decrease back pain caused by muscle or joint dysfunction. Hand-on services we may incorporate into your treatment plan include:
- Guided Exercise — Safe exercises are essential for helping you build up strength, flexibility, and balance. In addition to reducing pain now, certain exercises will allow you to maintain a healthy spine while going to work or doing the activities you love most. Effective exercises for spine conditions include:
- Core stabilization
- Postural retraining
- Cardio conditioning
- Strength training
- Home exercise
- Injury Prevention — There’s nothing worse than believing you’re moving on from an injury, only to aggravate it or suffer another injury in the future. We help you understand your injury and how it affects your body’s function, so you can learn how to be active safely. Our injury prevention program includes:
- Patient education
- Lifting education
- Activity modification
Your treatment plan in St. Louis will be based not on just recovery or pain relief, but on getting you to optimal function and keeping you there. However we recommend treating your spine condition or back pain, it will be based on peer-reviewed studies that those techniques have been proven to work.
Call Axes For Your Spine Specialist Near Me in St. Louis
Don’t let a back injury keep you from living the life you want. At Axes, our St. Louis spine specialists are dedicated to positive patient outcomes and getting patients back to the activities they love. Your pain may not have been your choice, but you do not have to choose to live with it. For a licensed and qualified St. Louis spine specialist to help you, request an appointment with Axes Physical Therapy today or find the location most convenient for you