Back Pain

Back Pain

Our licensed physical therapists are experienced in treating various orthopedic conditions; back pain is an area in which they specialize. Although back pain is extremely common (affecting 8 out of 10 people at some time in their life), physical therapy is often prescribed as it is an effective treatment and prevention plan. For all back pain requiring physical therapy, our professionals at Dragonfly Physical Therapy are here to help! For the full list of services that we offer, please visit our Services page.

How Physical Therapy Can Help Relieve Lower and Upper Back Pain

Since the back is the most vital support structure in the human body, it has an increased likelihood of acquiring injury from strenuous activities and has an increased likelihood of developing orthopedic problems as a result of age. Whether you are suffering from stiffness, swelling, tension, immobility, knots (or trigger points), weakness, spasms, or general pain, there are numerous treatment plans that our physical therapists can recommend for you. Treatment plans often include a combination of exercises, stretches, mobilization, and manipulation. Since the back is comprised of a complex combination of bones, ligaments, muscles, cartilage, and tendons, it is prone to experience orthopedic problems especially as one ages.

The goal of physical therapy for back pain is to help patients regain mobility and strength, increase flexibility, reduce pain, and develop prevention plans for the future. Physical therapy is unlike a professional massage or at-home care because its intent is to resolve the root of the problem. For the back, the pain may be a symptom of an issue elsewhere in the body especially since it is centrally located. It is not uncommon for back pain to be a result of misaligned or weakened structures like the buttocks, hip, feet, abdominal muscles, or even your head. Physical therapy will be able to help you identify, treat, and prevent your health issues pertaining to your neck. Our licensed physical therapists at Dragonfly Physical Therapy develop customized programs for each patient, catered to their unique needs. In your initial consultation (lasting approximately 45 minutes), your physical therapist will work with you to determine the best plan, frequency, and duration of treatment to get you feeling your best!

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Types of Physical Therapy for Upper and Lower Back Pain

Depending on your unique health condition, one or many of these methods may be employed as part of the treatment phase for your physical therapy. Your physical therapist would be more than happy to go into greater depth about any of the following options.

Stretches and Exercises for the Back and Core (Aerobic and/or Aquatic)

Joint Mobilization

Massage Therapy

Spine Manipulation



Ice/Heat Therapy

Causes of Back Pain that may Benefit from Physical Therapy

Although every situation is different, many of the following problems will often benefit from physical therapy.

  • Ergonomically Incorrect Resting or Sleeping Positions
  • Obesity or Excess Weight
  • Poor Physical Fitness
  • Pregnancy
  • Scoliosis
  • Cartilage Degeneration Between Vertebrae

This often (but not always) is due to the aging process. Cartilage wears away between vertebrae in the spine, which causes pain as bones rub together and/or nerves to become pinched.

  • Injury
  • Back injuries are especially common in contact and non-contact sports, especially if they involve a twisting motion (javelin, hockey, golf), repetitive impact (running, figure skating), repetitive extension movements (gymnastics, volleyball), or weight loading (weight training, power lifting). Injuries can also occur from car accidents, bike accidents, or even by lifting something that is too heaving with incorrect posture.
  • Pre-Surgery and Post-Surgery
  • In many cases, physical therapy is recommended for patients pre- and post-surgery for their back.
  • Stress
  • Pinched Nerves (Lumbar Stenosis)
  • Stenosis is when your spinal column becomes narrowed. The narrowing of the spine can be caused by numerous factors such as wear and tear of the bones, thickening of ligaments, scoliosis, herniated disks, or inflammation. Many of these factors occur naturally as part of the aging process.
  • Arthritis / Osteoarthritis
  • Tumors, Cancer, and Disease
  • For these health concerns, physical therapy may be employed to temporarily alleviate symptoms; however, it is not typically recommended as a treatment plan. Please consult your general care physician to find the best medical approach for your case.

An Important Note:

A 2018 study showed that patients seeking treatment for their back pain are less likely to require opioids, advanced imaging services (MRIs and CT scans), and ER visits if they receive physical therapy early on for their pain management.

If you are concerned about a serious back injury associated with pain or numbness, you should seek help from a professional as soon as possible to prevent further damage. It’s crucial to be thoroughly examined by your primary care physician. This is to ensure that you get proper medical attention and services that you need. Whenever your doctor gives you a referral, we would be honored to be the ones to help you on your health journey! We are here for you every step of the way.

Questions? Contact us here. We’d love to hear from you!

Disclosure:The information on this page is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to help diagnose or treat medical issues. If you have any medical concerns, please speak with your physical therapist or other licensed medical professional for the best advice.


I wanted to share the good news with you all that I ran my first marathon! The training went well and my back was strong throughout. Thank you for all you taught me and if I ever have pain in my back or anything due to running I will surely call on you guys!