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Ask the PT – Back Pain

Hello WSPT,

I have been experiencing chronic back pain and I am worried it can cause a more serious condition in the future. How can physical therapy help me with my back pain? I am hesitant to have surgery or have to rely on prescription medication. Are there things I can do at home or at work to help reduce my back pain. Thank you for the help!


Hello Amy,

Thank you very much for the great question! Lower back pain can be unique from person to person and a professional evaluation by a physical therapist is important for developing an exercise regimen to help remedy the issue. The cause of lower back pain, similar to other problems such as poor posture, can typically be caused by one or more parts of the body being irritated, strained, or damaged. These body parts and functions include the large and smaller root nerves from the back to the legs, the lower back muscles, the intervertebral disc, and bones, ligaments, and joints.

Lower back pain in adults can range from a mild discomfort to crippling pain that may require immediate medical assistance. Younger adults experiencing back pain due to a strain within the disc space itself, while older adults tend to experience back pain due to a joint degeneration condition such as osteoporosis. It is important to book an appointment with a physical therapist as they can diagnose your back pain based on factors such as age, gender, medical history, and lifestyle.

There are a number of mobility exercises related to the lower back that can be completed in order to develop increased joint motion and assist in correcting your posture if necessary. Remember, exercises should only be completed if you do not feel pain, and you should always consult with a doctor or physical therapist so you do not make your condition worse. Low back mobility exercises should be completed in the “cat/camel” position on your hands and knees.

Physical therapists stress correct posture because it is the result of many body parts and functions working in harmony and years of incorrect or bad posture can result in chronic back pain and other degenerative changes to our bodies. The physical therapists at WSPT diagnose back pain and poor posture by comparing anatomical landmarks with respect to each other. They would describe symptoms of bad posture as “swayback posture”, or hyperlordosis, and the forward head movement you described is a common problem leading to issues throughout the jaw, neck, and spine.

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