Spine

The Hartford Healthcare Rehabilitation Network offers a range of services for patients with chronic and acute neck and back pain within its spine program.

HHCRN Back & Spine BannerThe team includes experts in rehabilitation that provide evidenced based examination and treatment. Care is evidenced based in order to improve consistency and quality of care.

A physical therapist will perform a thorough spine evaluation that includes:

  • A review of your current and past health history
  • Questions about your current symptoms
  • A thorough physical examination that includes an assessment of your strength, endurance, range of motion and the quality and quantity of your current mobility in your spine, pelvis, and legs. As well as any movement behaviors that might put you at risk for delayed recovery.
  • Specific tests that are used to identify signs or symptoms that could indicate a serious health problem that would warrant further medical assessment.
  • Assessment of how you use your body at work, home, and during recreational activities.

The thorough examination will assist with developing an individualized treatment program. Treatment plans focus on decreasing your pain and optimizing your functional capabilities through prescribed exercise, hands-on care, and patient education.


Common Spine Conditions Treated

  • Herniated discs
  • Degenerative discs
  • Muscle strains
  • Arthritis
  • Spinal Stenosis
  • Chronic pain
  • Acute pain
  • Neck, mid back, and low back pain
  • Stenosis, spondylolithesis and scoliosis
  • Sacroiliac dysfunction
  • Disc pathology
  • Whiplash
  • Spine related sports of work injuries
  • Pre- and post-surgical rehabilitation
  • Headache

Types of Spine Pain

Acute low back and neck pain

Low back pain that lasts for six weeks or less is called acute spine pain. The symptoms may or may not radiate into your leg. Although quite painful, it usually improves after a few days of simple care. Studies have demonstrated that early referral to physical therapy for acute spine pain is associated with lower utilization of advanced imaging, lumbar spinal injections, lumbar spine surgery, additional physician visits, and use of opioids.

Chronic low back and neck pain

Back pain that lasts longer than twelve weeks with no significant improvement is considered chronic. Studies demonstrate that a multidisciplinary approach, that includes physical therapy, is helpful with decreasing pain and improving function when pain persists for greater than twelve weeks.


Treatments provided

Exercise is our specialty.

The therapist will develop an individualized program specific to the needs to each person focusing on areas of your back and body that need to be strengthened or stretched.

Manual therapy is hands on based treatment that we offer.

Therapists are trained at applying skilled hands on treatment intended to produce improvement in tissue extensibility, increase range of motion, mobilize or manipulate soft tissues and joints, induce relaxation, change muscle function, modulate pain intensity, and reduce soft tissue swelling, inflammation or movement restriction. Not everyone needs manual therapy and the therapist will only perform it on the patient that would benefit from it.

Core strengthening is important to many individuals with low back pain.

We test you to identify the weak areas of your abdominal and/or back muscles and educate you to independently do your exercises at home.

Traction is helpful for a small percent of patients with low back and/or neck pain.

Our clinics have traction tables and therapists can identify those who will benefit.

Ice and heat can be applied to assist with decreasing pain intensity.

Ice or cold packs can reduce pain and swelling. A heating pad can reduce pain and stiffness. Use ice or heat for 20 minutes as needed throughout the day.

Prevention of future low back pain is the focus and priority of our treatment.

As high as 80% of all patients who have spine pain once will have it again. This can be reduced when the patient receives the proper education, exercise and makes appropriate lifestyle changes.


Healthy Back Program

Acute low back pain is the second most common reason that people visit their doctor. Over 80% of people will have an episode of acute low back pain sometime in their lives. An episode of back pain is usually short term and most people make an excellent recovery in 1-2 months.

If your back pain does not resolve within 5-7 days, your physician may refer you to physical therapy and the Hartford Hospital Healthy Back Program. Here you will focus on restoring your mobility, improving your strength and decreasing your pain. We will work towards restoring your prior level of function with all your normal daily activities. The goals of the program are:

  • Reduce recurrent visits to your medical provider for low back pain
  • Increase access to physical therapy services for acute low back pain patients
  • Utilize current best evidence to provide the most effective evaluation and treatment
  • Improve outcomes with low back pain patient population
  • Ensure a smooth and evidence based escalation process into the spine specialists clinic

Patient Resources

Web Resources

Booklets

  • Adriaan Louw, PT, PhD, CSMT
    • “Why do I hurt”
    • “Your nerves are having back surgery”
  • Lormier Moseley, PT, PhD
    • “Painful Yarns”
    • “Explain Pain”

Online Videos

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Hartford HealthCare Rehabilitation Network


Education & Training

Orthopedic Residency