Back - Neck

Physical therapy is an effective treatment option for a variety of back and neck problems. Whether you are experiencing pain due to an injury, degenerative condition, or other health issue, physical therapy can help reduce pain and improve mobility, strength, and flexibility.

Extensive research has demonstrated that physical therapy is the most effective, lowest cost and safest option for most people with back and neck issues.  A recent study conducted at the University of Utah looked at well over 100,000 separate patients with back issues.  They found that when patients were able to receive physical therapy within 2 weeks of the onset of their symptoms:

There are a wide variety of issues that can cause low back pain which often leads to a lot of confusion for patients.  Patient have been told they have:

  • A Back Strain
  • Herniated Disc
  • Building Disc
  • Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD)
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Osteoporosis
  • Spinal Stenosis
  • Degenerative Joint Disease (DJD)
  • Pinched Nerve

The reality is there are many different causes of back pain.  But in almost every type of back pain, physical therapy can offer significant improvement and we can often teach our patients long term strategies to help deal with their problems.  For instance, many people have been told they have a disc problem and it really scares them.  The reality is discs can heal and physical therapy has been shown to be very effective in treating disc problems WITHOUT SURGERY!

Do I need to get an MRI?

This is one of the most common questions that patients often ask.  The MRI is an amazing piece of technology but unfortunately in the world of back and neck pain, it has often caused more harm than good.  MRI’s are very sensitive devices and will often show “wear and tear” in the spine that may have absolutely nothing to do with your back pain.  There has been significant research that MRI’s simply increase the cost of treatment of back pain by an average of over $4,000, but have no significant impact on the direction of care.  Which means for most patients they are a waste of time and money.  Unless you have significant nerve symptoms along with your back pain, most of the time it is totally OK to take a ”wait and see” approach before getting an MRI.

Here are some ways in which physical therapy can be effective for back and neck problems:

  • Pain Relief: One of the primary goals of physical therapy for back and neck problems is to reduce pain. Physical therapists use a variety of techniques, such as manual therapy, stretching, and exercises, to reduce pain and inflammation in the affected area.
  • Improved Mobility: Physical therapy can also help improve mobility in the back and neck. Through a combination of manual therapy, stretching and strengthening exercises, physical therapy can help improve range of motion and reduce stiffness.
  • Better Posture: Poor posture is a common cause of back and neck pain. Physical therapy can help address posture issues through targeted exercises and education on proper posture and body mechanics.
  • Increased Strength: Weak muscles in the back and neck can contribute to pain and injury. Physical therapy can help increase strength in the affected area through targeted exercises and strength training.
  • Prevention of Future Injuries: Physical therapy can also help prevent future injuries by improving flexibility, strength, and posture. By addressing underlying issues that contribute to back and neck problems, physical therapy can help reduce the risk of future injuries.
  • Avoidance of Surgery: In some cases, physical therapy can help individuals avoid surgery for back and neck problems. By addressing pain and mobility issues through targeted exercises and manual therapy, physical therapy can help reduce the need for surgery in some cases.
  • Improved Quality of Life: Chronic pain in the back and neck can significantly impact quality of life. By reducing pain and improving mobility, physical therapy can help individuals with back and neck problems improve their overall quality of life.

Overall, physical therapy is an effective treatment option for back and neck problems. By reducing pain, improving mobility, and addressing underlying issues, physical therapy can help individuals with back and neck problems improve their quality of life and avoid the need for surgery in some cases. If you are experiencing back or neck pain, come visit with us and determine if physical therapy is a suitable treatment option for you.

Did You Know?

  • Back and neck pain are two of the most common reasons to visit the doctor in the United States.
  • Over $380 billion a year is spent on the treatment of back pain.
  • Recent scientific research has shown that seeing a physical therapist within one week of hurting your back saves an average patient over $4000 in total treatment costs.
  • Did you know recent research has shown that having an MRI can actually cause more harm than good in a lot of cases of back pain? Although a very powerful tool the MRI has been identified as one of the most wasteful medical expenditures in America. More often than not it does not add anything of any relevance to the treatment of back pain. And on average a single MRI costs more than an entire treatment regimen of physical therapy.

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