Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Back Pain Health Center

Font Size

Physical Therapy for Back Pain - Topic Overview

Physical therapists provide a type of treatment you may need when back pain makes it hard to move around and do everyday tasks. This treatment helps you move better and may relieve pain. It also helps improve or restore your physical function and your fitness level.

The goal of physical therapy is to make daily tasks and activities easier. For example, it may help with walking, going up stairs, or getting in and out of bed.

Recommended Related to Back Pain

12 Ways to Improve Back Pain

Like the nearly 80% of Americans who will experience a back problem during their lifetime, Beverly Hayes suffers from back pain. For many, the injury is triggered by a strenuous activity, like gardening or weight lifting. Others simply bend down to pick up a pencil and their back gives out. “It felt like a screwdriver was piercing through my bones,” the 46-year-old Chicago artist says about the pain that developed shortly after she ran a half-marathon. “It took over my life. I...

Read the 12 Ways to Improve Back Pain article > >

Physical therapy may be used alone or with other treatments.

You may get treatment at:

  • A clinic.
  • A hospital.
  • A sports or fitness setting.

Your physical therapist will examine you and make a treatment plan. You may need help with flexibility, strength, endurance, coordination, and/or balance.

First, your therapist will try to reduce your pain and swelling. Then he or she will probably work to increase your flexibility, strength, and endurance.

Physical therapy almost always includes exercise. It can include stretching, core exercises, weight lifting, and walking. You may learn an exercise program so you can do it at home.

Your physical therapist also may use manual therapy, education, and techniques such as heat, cold, water, ultrasound, and electrical stimulation.

Treatment may cause mild soreness or swelling. This is normal, but talk to your physical therapist if it bothers you.

1

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: November 19, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
Next Article:

Physical Therapy for Back Pain Topics

Today on WebMD

back pain
Article
woman with lower back pain
Quiz
 
man on cellphone
Slideshow
acupuncture needles in woman's back
Slideshow
 

low back pain
Video
pain in brain and nerves
Slideshow
 
Chronic Pain Healtcheck
Health Check
break at desk
Article
 

Woman holding lower back
Slideshow
Weight Loss Surgery
Slideshow
 
lumbar spine
Slideshow
back pain
Article