Sara Shupe, MSPT, Dip. MDT is a physical therapist specialist and founder of J.O.Y. Physical Therapy Inc, a mobile and tele-health physical therapy provider servicing the Twin Cities Metro Area, greater Minnesota, and Wisconsin. Sara has presented early access models of mechanical diagnosis and therapy (MDT) in the treatment of low back pain to the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) of MN, National Association of Spine Society (NASS) in San Diego and Utah, and The international MDT Conference in Miami, FL. Sara lives in Eagan, MN with her husband, 13 year-old son and Dachshund Mix Puppy.
There are things about the back that unsettle the mind. Words like "sciatica" can strike fear into the soul of those who google it. Especially if you are unfortunate to land on some web pages that would more accurately be called "I-think-I-have-cancer.com."
Despite their low specificity (For the non-semantic: ability to rule something out if the person doesn't have it), MRI use increases every year. These reports often include words like "herniation" and 'degeneration" when it is describing your back. This can drive pictures of a disintegrating spine and wheelchair in your head. Since MRIs describe "abnormalities" 40-60% of the time in people without pain, most practitioners have concluded that MRIs have done more harm than good in understanding what to do about the mind-body problem of back pain (Chou et al, The Lancet 2009).
What does it all mean?
At J.O.Y. Physical Therapy Inc., we utilize a method called Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy (MDT). In addition, we can understand how hopeless or fearful your may feel about your back pain by the score of your standardized measure called FABQ. Using MDT and FABQ to guide us, we can show you how you can move and position in a safe way. These will have a therapeutic, or in other words, positive effect, on your back pain. This can often reduce your fear; demonstrated by a reduction your FABQ scores and increasing your adherence to your exercise prescription. You should concurrently minimize and resolve your back pain over the period of time you are treating with us.
This is Good News!
Why does your mind affect your ability to heal your back?
We continue to learn about the mind-body connection to back pain. Fear and beliefs that you are unsafe to move may cause you to avoid any movements. If you avoid all normal movement, the tissues in your body may demonstrate a shortened length or decreased ability to take on load. They less you move, the less they move. High stress levels, in similar ways to shortened tissue, can increase the pain response in your back.
Regardless of the exact processes, we’ve experienced the power of the mind on back pain, and have added these processes for our patients to get back in the game-
Our patients average 4 visits for low back pain resolution vs 12-16 visits that are standard in USA physical therapy clinics
Improved patients’ function long term (we measure our patients at 6 month and 12 month follow up)
Reduced the likelihood for expensive and often unnecessary doctor visits, MRIs, injections, etc.
Come and experience the mind-back experience at www.joy-pt.com or call 651-800-MYPT
Not in MN or WI? Go to www.mckenzieinstituteusa.org to find a MDT Provider near you.