Back pain is an extremely common condition that affects more than 15 million Americans each year. The medical field recognizes that physical therapy can be helpful in alleviating or treating back pain. But can physical therapy alleviate or prevent injury?

The answer is yes and no. Physical therapy can help in the short term relief of back pain, but it does not have any major impact on long-term complications.

Back pain occurs for several reasons, and it is often due to a person’s own action or inaction. Back problems are caused by such factors as poor posture, muscle imbalances, aging, injuries, surgical procedures, or improper lifting techniques. A combination of these factors can cause back pain.

Physical therapy can help restore normal functioning by correcting physical imbalance. In most cases, correcting a back problem through physical therapy can correct it entirely.

However, back pain is only one of many conditions that can be successfully treated through physical therapy. In many cases, if there is a link between the cause of back pain and physical therapy, physical therapy will help restore functioning as well.

When performed appropriately, physical therapy can also decrease pain and improve range of motion while helping the patient to learn proper exercise techniques. While performing exercises, the body undergoes corrective muscular and skeletal changes.

Because the main purpose of physical therapy is to provide symptomatic relief, many patients do not realize that they can help control their pain by returning to their normal daily activities. Not only can this help the patient, but it can help the physical therapist make better recommendations.

In the end, it is best to consult with your doctor before starting physical therapy which involves extreme movements. Most doctors will tell you that early-onset or chronic back pain is a symptom of another condition and that physical therapy should be undertaken only under the supervision of a physician.

Other treatment alternatives are available including spinal manipulation, epidural steroid injections, hydrotherapy, deep tissue massage, deep line ultrasound, cortisone injections, and exercise techniques. Some of these methods may even work for some patients.

It is up to you to determine which method is right for you. Once you have been diagnosed with your condition, it is important to keep a doctor or physical therapist informed of your progress so he or she can recommend an appropriate course of treatment.

Don’t shrug off the symptoms of back pain just because you feel like nothing can be done about it. Getting a physician to give you a medical opinion may be essential for the success of your treatments.