Physical Therapy For Spinal Conditions Benefits & Exercises

Jun 6, 2024

For patients living with back or neck pain, it may be tempting to avoid discomfort by remaining immobile. Ultimately, however, immobility does not resolve discomfort. Rather, the best road to recovery involves regaining strength, stability, flexibility, and mobility within a safe and progressive framework. Physical therapy provides just that framework, which is why it is one of the core components of most back pain treatment programs.

At New Jersey Spine Institute, our award-winning team develops personalized physical therapy plans tailored to the needs and treatment goals of every patient we work with. To learn more, contact our office to book an in-person appointment today!

How Physical Therapy Is Used in Spine and Back Treatment

Physical therapy focuses on improving how the body physically moves in order to reduce pain and increase strength and function. It can involve a wide range of different techniques including heat, massage, ultrasound, manual therapy, stretching exercises, strengthening exercises, core strengthening exercises, and more.

Physical therapy helps speed up the healing process after spinal injuries or procedures and can also be used to proactively prevent future injuries from occurring. It may be recommended as an independent treatment approach or combined with other treatment options including medications, injections, or surgical interventions.

A thorough assessment of your current condition, medical history, and recovery goals is the first step in physical therapy treatment for the spine and back. Next, an individualized plan is developed that may involve elements including hands-on manual therapy and targeted exercises to improve strength, stability, flexibility, and range of motion. Ultimately, the goal of physical therapy is to help patients return to their normal activities with decreased pain and a reduced risk of re-injury in the future.

Types of Back Pain That May Benefit From Physical Therapy Treatment

Both acute and chronic back pain can be effectively addressed with physical therapy. Some common types include:


Sciatica refers to pain, weakness, tingling, or numbness that travels along the sciatic nerve from the buttocks down the legs. Often caused by a bulging or herniated spinal disc, sciatica often responds well to a physical therapy treatment program.

Post-Surgical Pain and Healing

After a surgical procedure, physical therapy sessions can decrease pain, improve mobility, and speed recovery overall. Your physical therapist may also recommend an exercise program to help you gain strength and prepare for surgery beforehand.

Axial Back Pain

Axial back pain refers to mechanical back pain that is confined to one particular region. Physical therapy can help address and resolve axial back pain from muscle strains, facet joints, and many other causes.

Exercises To Avoid if You Have Pain in the Spine or Back

Every patient is unique, and at New Jersey Spine Institute, so is every treatment plan. The physical therapy exercises recommended (or not recommended) by our team will depend on the specifics of your back or neck pain and treatment goals.

In general, pushing through pain is not a good idea. Our experienced team can help you distinguish between healthy pain caused by stretching or working muscles properly and unhealthy pain that may be damaging or harmful to your progress.

Ready to resolve back and neck pain and move forward on the road to recovery with the top spine specialists in NJ? Call our office today to book an appointment! We look forward to meeting you.

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