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Mild Back Pain: Advice as Good as Therapy

Do-It-Yourself Treatment Provides Same Results as Physical Therapy in Minor Cases

Preventing Future Problems

Still, Kenneth Harwood, PT, PhD, CIE, a spokesman for the American Physical Therapists Association, disputes Frost's findings because he says there were problems with the way the study was conducted.

"They are grouping together all patients with lower back pain in a generic way," he tells WebMD. "Basically they say if you treat all these patients similarly, you will get a questionable outcome from physical therapy. What we would say is you can't group all patients together, you need to identify subclasses of patients."

He acknowledges that many cases of minor back pain don't need professional physical therapy, but says that it might be useful for preventing recurrences.

"Certainly at this point, the intervention we use on someone with minor back pain is to quickly decrease pain and increase function, but it's also to prevent the recurrence. What you are able to do with a physical therapist is get a thorough examination and better determine your risk level for re-injury."

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