Back Pain and Physical Therapy
A common treatment for back pain is physical therapy. This technique is focused on increasing mobility and natural motion so that back muscles are not strained and misplaced. Physical Therapy should be considered prior to more aggressive measures such as back surgery.
Effect of Physical Therapy on Back Pain
To assess the causes for your back pain, the physical therapist will ask you questions about problems with posture, flexibility, strength, joint mobility, and movement. They will try to understand how you use your body at work, home, during sports, and at leisure.3
Physical therapists will use a variety of tools such as ultrasound (high-frequency sound waves that stimulate or restore blood circulation, electrical muscle stimulation, joint mobilization and massage to help relieve acute muscles spasms. The American Association of Physical Therapists states that, "Because physical therapists receive specialized training in a variety of sciences – physics, human anatomy, kinesiology (human movement), to name a few– they understand how the body works and how to get you moving again. They know how to manage all four of the body’s major systems – musculoskeletal, neuromuscular, cardiovascular/pulmonary, and integumentary (skin) – to restore and maximize mobility."3
Research Evidence on Physical Therapy
A review article published in the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons states that a combination of physical therapy and anti-inflammatories is the most effective treatment for back pain.
- Goldberg, Burton; Alternative Medicine: The Definitive Guide, Second Edition
- The Back Story, Natural Solutions, December 2009
- http://www.moveforwardpt.com/improving_mobility/, 2/24/10