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Physical Therapy for Back Pain – Why It’s So Important

Physical therapy is often prescribed or recommended for individuals with back pain. How can physical therapy help and why is it so important?

physical therapy for back pain

How Can Physical Therapy Help with Back Pain?

Physical therapy is a nonsurgical treatment option used for many conditions that cause back pain.


Back pain can be caused by many different reasons such as genetics, age, posture, trauma, repetitive motion, or overuse. Physical therapists often do a thorough evaluation of their patients to help determine the cause of the pain and the most appropriate treatment methods.


Physical therapists educate their patients about stretches, exercises, and other treatment methods that may help their condition.

Back pain can often be caused by poor posture or repetitive motion. Without understanding the cause of the pain, an individual may continue the motion or posture that is creating the pain. Part of physical therapy is also involves educating the patient as to what positions and movements can exacerbate their condition.


Once the physical therapist and patient have identified the source of the pain they work together to develop a treatment plan.  Treatment methods can include stretches, exercises, hot/cold therapy, TENS therapy, and more. The therapist helps the patient perform the activities recommended. The purpose of performing the activities during therapy visits is twofold. The first, and most obvious reason, is to provide relief for the patient. The second reason is to practice the stretches and exercises that will best target the patient’s condition. This teaches the patient how to perform these activities in the future to both prevent and reduce future back pain.

Why is Physical Therapy So Important for Back Pain?


Understanding the cause of the pain can help an individual avoid practices that would worsen their pain. Understanding the stretches and exercises that help an individual’s back pain can also help them treat their pain should it return. This education is a critical part of physical therapy which helps the patient in the future.

Reduced Inflammation

As we stated above, back pain can have a number of causes. It could be from trauma, stenosis, a herniated disc, etc. Almost all of these conditions can be exacerbated by inflammation. If inflammation is believed to be a large contributing factor to the patient’s back pain, the physical therapist may use techniques to reduce it such as hot / cold therapy.

Strength Conditioning

Exercises are often utilized during physical therapy to help increase the patient’s overall strength. Holding up the body’s weight takes force. By increasing a body’s muscle strength, more of the body’s weight can be supported by its muscles. Consequently, the spine bears less of a load, reducing the chance for injury or irritation.

Increased Flexibility and Range of Motion

Just as exercises help strengthen the body’s muscles, stretches can help increase mobility of the body’s joints. This increased mobility can also reduce the chance for injury or irritation to the spine. As an added benefit, increased mobility can allow the individual to be more active and further strengthen their body.

To learn more, you may be interested to read about our article on physical therapy for back pain relief.

*Please Note: Information on this site or any recommended sites should not be used as a diagnosis or a substitute for talking with your doctor. Always talk with your doctor about diagnosis and treatment information.
Blue Distinction Center for Spine Surgery