Dr. Mundrati’s Top Tip To Manage Back Pain
Dr. Mundrati’s advice to help patients manage back pain—and keep it from recurring.
Physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist Dr. Pooja Mundrati understands how debilitating back pain can be. She’s had to manage back pain herself after an injury.
A fall injury like Dr. Mundrati’s is one among many potential causes of back pain. “There are a lot of types of back pain,” she acknowledges. “I treat patients with spine pain caused by multiple issues, including trauma, musculoskeletal problems, degenerative conditions and more.”
Medical treatment plans for back pain vary with each patient, and are customized to individual preferences and medical needs. “Our Summit Orthopedics spine team offers an extensive range of nonsurgical and surgical treatments to patients,” explains Dr. Mundrati. “But there are also steps every back pain patient can take to support his or her recovery. And because I like to educate and empower patients, there is one step in particular that I encourage every patient to take.”
One thing every patient can do to manage back pain
“The tip at the top of my list to help patients manage back pain? Stretching and strengthening!” says Dr. Mundrati. “Once you sustain a back injury, stretching and strengthening can help your recovery and maintain your back mobility. Depending on the patient’s condition, back exercises may not replace medical management of pain, especially acute pain. But an exercise program designed to strengthen and stretch back muscles can work in combination with medical treatment to relieve pain. And for patients who have recovered, back-strengthening exercises can help reduce the risk of reinjury.”
Back pain patients who benefit from specific stretching and strengthening
“A number of spine conditions benefit from regular targeted stretching and strengthening,” states Dr. Mundrati. She encourages exercise for the following types of patients:
- Patients recovering from a traumatic injury that caused back pain
- Patients who experienced musculoskeletal injuries involving the back
- Patients with back pain caused by underlying degenerative changes
Not just any exercise will effectively manage back pain
“The kind of exercise that I am talking about is the kind that needs supervision, at least initially” she explains. “We want patients to start out on the right track and stay on the right track.” She recommends an exercise program designed to strengthen and stretch the muscles supporting the spine. “You can have strong arms or legs without having good core strength,” she points out. “And stretching isn’t enough to build core strength. During and following recovery from a back issue, I encourage patients to do guided core-strengthening exercises a few times a week. The objective is to incorporate strength-building exercises into your activities to help keep back issues at bay.”
How much guided exercise is enough?
“Some people believe they can go to one session and that’s enough,” says Dr. Mundrati. “But I advise patients to go for at least four to six sessions with a physical therapist or, in appropriate cases, one of our performance specialists. The first session is an assessment and consultation. Then, patients are guided through appropriate exercises. Form is corrected and exercise homework is assigned. Patients do the exercises at home as instructed and tolerated and then tell their therapist what is working well and what is not going well or causing more symptoms. I’ve had many patients who have benefited from this process. Their work with a therapist can help put them on a trajectory of progress.”
When you manage back pain through targeted exercise, improvement is slow but steady
“A lot of my patients are eager to get back to their former level of activity,” smiles Dr. Mundrati. “But it takes time to recover after a back injury or pain episode. I tell my patients that recovery is like running a marathon. Everyone wants to be better yesterday, including me. But the idea is that slow and steady progress can be beneficial for achieving long-lasting back strength and mobility while minimizing the risk of further injury.”
Summit Orthopedics offers comprehensive spine expertise
Summit Orthopedics’ Spine Care program is recognized by the National Committee for Quality Assurance for the comprehensive expertise of our patient-centered care. Our back specialists diagnose spine problems and design custom treatment plans built on a conservative, nonsurgical approach. Most patients find relief through treatments including guided injections, specialized physical therapy, biofeedback, exercise, activity modification, and medication. When conservative care does not relieve symptoms, our highly skilled surgeons offer proven, evidence-based surgical options. Together with you, we will determine the right course of action.
Summit has convenient locations across the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area, serving Minnesota and western Wisconsin. We have state-of-the-art centers for comprehensive orthopedic care in Eagan, MN, Plymouth, MN, Vadnais Heights, MN, and Woodbury, MN, as well as additional community clinics throughout the metro and southern Minnesota.
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