Can a Therapist Help with Spine Pain?

Back Pain Physical Therapist | The Spine Institute

When it comes to spine pain there’s a growing trend taking a conservative approach and exhausting all non-surgical remedies for relief. One such option is some form of physical therapy performed by a licensed physical therapist. With a wide range of therapeutic treatments and exercises available, odds are good that a therapist will be able to offer some meaningful help with your spine pain.

Patient-Based Goals

One of the reasons why physical therapy tends to be effective for treating spinal conditions and back pain is because goals are typically based on patient capabilities. Treatments are often adjusted from session to session based on patient progress. Generally, the purpose of physical therapy is to:

  • Educate patients on what’s likely causing their pain, how to recognize symptoms and what to avoid to keep the pain from getting worse
  • Safely accelerate the stages of healing with appropriate exercises
  • Restore spine motion and muscular flexibility

Passive and Active Therapy

Despite the term “physical therapy,” treatment options are grouped into two categories: passive and active. For patients with more severe spine conditions, passive therapy options are designed to reduce pain and discomfort to a level that’s manageable. This may include identifying trigger points and treatments like heat and ice therapy. Active therapy, common after fusion surgery, focuses more on performing certain movements in a controlled setting to facilitate muscle strengthening.

Research about Spinal Stenosis

According to a Harvard University study, physical therapy may be just as effective as spine surgery, at least for patients with spinal stenosis. In the study, patients in both groups (those who had surgery and those who relied on physical therapy) reported a decrease in symptoms and discomfort. While this is encouraging news, it’s still best to discuss physical therapy options with your doctor, who should also be able to provide a recommendation for a therapist specializing in your particular spine issue or condition.

If physical therapy has not been able to relive your spinal pain, reach out to conservative spinal surgeon, Dr. Hyun Bae and schedule an in-person consultation to learn your non-surgical and surgical options – (310) 828-7757.