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Back Pain in Asheville: Conservative Pain Relief

Are you in Asheville, NC and experiencing back pain? Have you been told that you may need medications, an injection, or a back surgery that you don’t want? I encourage you to read below and if this resonates with you, then reach out to set up a free phone consult with me before you seriously consider any invasive treatment. I specialize in helping active adults and athletes in Asheville improve their back pain and get back to enjoying life with non-invasive treatment for their pain.

According to the Global Burden of Disease Study in 2017, conducted by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), approximately 80% of adults experience back pain at some point during their lifetime. This isn’t to scare anyone, but to show just how common back pain is and to explain that pain is a natural part of the human experience. BUT that doesn’t mean you should settle to live with your pain.

Scroll down to read my answers to frequently asked questions about back pain.

Back Pain FAQ:

What should I do after hurting my back?

Here are some generic, but solid recommendations for anyone experiencing back pain.

-Focus on your breathing. Functional breathing using your diaphragm is a great place to focus when in pain or trying to relax your nervous system. Lie on your back with pillows under the knees (or in another position of best comfort), place hands on your ribs, and focus on breathing in to allow your rib cage to expand. We don’t want to shrug up when we breath, or avoid full breaths into our lungs, or try to breath too low into our bellies.  

-Stay moving. Typically, staying moving is the best strategy to help your back pain go away as fast as possible. Focusing on frequent, short, and tolerable walks can be very helpful. Avoid moving like a robot (I know, it can be hard to do!). Actually, moving your body and your back in tolerable ranges is important.

-See if you have a preferred position. It could be flexion based (sitting, lying with knees bent to chest) or extension based (lying flat, standing). Focus on spending time in the positions that feel best for your back and avoiding time in those positions that make it worse. This seems like a commonsense recommendation, but one that can be overlooked.

Should I stop going to the gym for a while when I hurt my back?

No! Use your own knowledge or a coach to help you modify your workouts and gradually progress back to full speed. If you aren’t sure how to do this, then it’s the perfect time to see a performance physical therapist! This is exactly what I do. I help people stay in the gym and continue with their favorite physical activities during the rehab process instead of telling them to “just rest it”. “Just rest it” is like hitting the pause button. When you hit play again, you are right back where you left off (aka in pain). Instead, keep doing a mode of cardio that doesn’t make your back pain worse. Getting a good sweat is helpful for your healing process and for you mentally. Scale back your workouts but continue going. It’s helpful for your body physically and for you to continue your healthy routines and keep up your social relationships.


When should I seek medical help with my back pain?

If you are experiencing acute back pain in Asheville but symptoms are mild, then I would encourage you to follow the above recommendations and wait to seek treatment. If your symptoms are not improving or are worsening 5-7 days after, then I recommend you go ahead and seek treatment. The musculoskeletal healthcare specialist is a physical therapist. You don’t need a referral to see a physical therapist in NC. You can set up a visit with me and I can help you get clarity on the root cause. I focus on resolving your pain and mobility first, then making sure this isn’t something that keeps coming back.

If your symptoms are severe for more than a day or two, travelling into the extremities, or causing other issues such as weakness, bowel or bladder changes, or numbness or tingling, then you should seek care right away. You are still appropriate to see a physical therapist first in most cases and we can refer you to the correct provider should you require that.

A performance physical therapist in Asheville, NC helps a person with back pain.

How do I know when I need imaging?

If you had a high impact accident such as a motor vehicle accident or a fall, then you may require imaging. A Doctor of Physical Therapy is trained to be able to identify any red flags that would require a referral for imaging. Also, a Doctor of Physical Therapy is trained to refer out for imaging if you are not responding as expected to treatment. If you see me and aren’t improving within 3-4 visits, then it may be time to get some imaging done. But research doesn’t recommend that your first step is to rush to get imaging. It is an unnecessary medical expense in most cases and is not necessary for me to successfully treat your back pain.

If you are in Asheville and dealing with back pain, then I encourage you to take action in order to advocate for your own health. Whether that is with me or another healthcare provider, don't let your pain derail your life. There are forms of non-invasive, conservative treatment that can help your pain. Even if you have tried physical therapy in the past but didn’t get the results you were looking for, try not to write us all off. It’s like dating. The first person you dated probably wasn’t the person you married. It can take some time to find a healthcare professional that is a great fit for you and your symptoms too.

As always, don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions.


Dr. Sieara Hinshaw


Click here to schedule your free phone consult with me!

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