Back Pain

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Resources and Information

Back Pain Symptoms

The location and severity of back pain can vary, depending on the cause of the problem. Signs and symptoms that sometimes accompany back pain are:

Pain radiating down the leg
Tingling or numbness in arm or leg
Decreased range of motion
Inability to stand up straight without pain
Weakness in arm or leg

Common Back Injuries and Conditions

How Will My Back Pain Be Diagnosed?

Your physical therapist will perform an evaluation that will start with discussing your medical history and your symptoms. Your therapist may check your leg strength, reflexes, ability to stand and walk, and spine’s range of motion. This will allow your physical therapist to develop a treatment plan to help improve your back pain and help you reach your goals.

How Can Physical Therapy Help Me?

Pain management

Your physical therapist may provide treatments using different "modalities" such as ice, heat, ultrasound, or electrical stimulation to help decrease pain and swelling.

Manual therapy

Your therapist will apply manual (hands-on) therapy to gently guide movement of the back area to restore joint and tissue mobility.

Therapeutic exercises

Your physical therapist will prescribe specific strengthening, flexibility, and endurance exercises to address your specific needs and goals.

Functional exercises

You will learn individualized exercises designed to help you return to your home, work, and sport activities. These also may include balance and coordination exercises.

Self-care instruction

Your physical therapist will teach you ways to manage your pain at home, and design a safe and effective home-exercise program based on your specific condition, which you can continue long after your formal physical therapy sessions have ended. You also will learn how to avoid placing unnecessary forces on the back during your daily activities for years to come.