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The Role of Physical Therapy in Alleviating Neck and Back Pain

Neck and Back Pain Spine and back pain can take a large toll on our daily life. When we experience neck and back pain, it limits our ability to move freely without pain causing us to miss out on life’s special moments.

Physical therapy is a non-invasive treatment option that many patients look to for back and neck pain relief. Not only can physical therapy relieve pain, but it helps strengthen muscles and condition spinal tissues and joints. Physical therapy can treat a range of conditions within the back and neck, including many forms of nerve pain. In the long term, physical therapy can reduce the need for daily medication or even surgery. 

It is important to seek medical attention at the onset of back and neck pain. Doing so allows medical professionals to take action early and help repair and heal conditions before they escalate. 

The Role of Physical Therapy

Most forms of physical therapy for back and neck pain involve strength training and improving flexibility of the kinetic chain, a group of joints and muscles in the back that allow us to move. In the short term, physical therapy aims to decrease pain and improve back function and flexibility. The long-term aim of physical therapy for back pain is to maintain levels of comfort and prevent the recurrence of problems in the future. Physical therapy patients can expect pain reduction, improved balance, improved walking abilities, and a restored ability to move without limitation.

Various types of physical therapy can be performed, based on a patient’s needs.

  • Exercise therapy: This is a series of physical activities that aim to improve the way the body functions. Over time, they aim to reduce pain in the targeted location, and increase mobility.
  • Manual Therapy: Also known as manipulative therapy, is a type of physical therapy that is used to treat musculoskeletal pain. It most often utilizes hands-on techniques that manipulate muscles and joints to help with mobility
  • Therapeutic Modalities: This is the use of tools like ultrasound, electrical stimulation, and mechanical traction to administer thermal, electrical and light energies into the body for pain relief.


Common conditions treated with physical therapy include:

  • Neck and shoulder pain
  • Pinched nerves
  • Herniated discs
  • Sciatica/sciatic nerve pain
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Arthritis
  • Upper back pain


What to Expect During Physical Therapy

At your first appointment, expect your physical therapist to do an examination of your current physical state. This will include a thorough history, an examination of your posture, range of motion, joint and soft tissue mobility, strength, flexibility, and gait. Your provider may also provide educational information and resources to help you understand your diagnosis. A deep understanding of a patient’s diagnosis helps with overall recovery and maintenance. At the end of your first appointment, you will have a personalized treatment plan that your physical therapy provider will bring you through, over a set timeframe, based on the frequency and duration of your physical therapy sessions.

At each appointment, your physical therapist will review your progress to date, ask about any new concerns or progress that you have noticed since your last physical therapy intervention session, and track notes and progress in your chart. They’ll then take you through your session for the day, modifying and progressing your treatment plan where needed to fit your current state.

Manage Pain with Spine Physical Therapy

Physical therapy for neck and back pain can help you regain and maintain an active lifestyle and can even reduce the need for invasive procedures. At Neuroscience Group we work closely with our patients to provide individualized physical therapy programming that reduces pain, improves function, and provides education. Our physical therapists work closely with our patient providers to ensure patients receive the most well-rounded physical therapy care for their conditions. Our Physical Therapy team was also named Best of the Valley in 2023.  If you’re interested in learning more about our physical therapy programs for back and neck pain, contact us today to get started.

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