Chronic back pain can affect every aspect of your life, making it difficult to work, enjoy your hobbies, or even fall asleep. Physical therapy techniques can help relieve this pain and even address the underlying causes so you can get back to doing the things you love.

Physical therapists use a wide range of techniques for back pain relief treatment. Your physical therapist will help you create a custom treatment plan based on the location and causes of your pain. Here’s what to expect from physical therapy as a back pain solution.

Types of Back Pain

Back pain falls into one of two categories: acute pain or chronic pain. Acute pain is sudden, intense pain that is a result of a specific injury. Chronic back pain is ongoing and can be caused by a multitude of factors. While it may initially stem from an injury, it can continue even after that injury has been treated and healed.

There are many potential causes of back pain. These include:

  • Injuries: Muscle strains, broken bones, and nerve damage can all cause back pain.
  • Chronic conditions: Health conditions like degenerative disk disease, spinal stenosis, arthritis, and osteoporosis can cause back pain.
  • Poor posture: Sitting in a hunched position for extended periods of time can lead to chronic back pain. This is particularly common among those with office jobs or sedentary lifestyles.

Role of Physical Therapy in Back Pain Treatment

Physical therapy is an essential part of treating back pain. It uses a range of exercises and natural treatments to improve mobility, posture, strength, and alignment. Not only does it provide short-term pain relief, but it can also address the underlying causes of the pain.

Back pain therapy can be done on its own or paired with other treatments, such as medication. Before beginning treatment, your physical therapist will conduct a comprehensive assessment to learn more about your medical history and needs. Then, they will create a custom treatment plan for you.

Benefits of Physical Therapy for Back Pain

Physical therapy has many benefits. Here’s why it’s such a popular treatment for back pain.

Non-Invasive Treatment

Many patients opt for physical therapy before trying medications or surgeries to alleviate pain. This is generally because physical therapy is non-invasive. Treatments are gentle, and other than mild soreness, there are usually no side effects to worry about.

While nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and muscle relaxants can help alleviate back pain, the results are usually temporary. Physical therapy provides long-lasting relief, rather than just masking the pain.

Pain Management

One of the biggest benefits of using physical therapy as back pain treatment is that it helps with pain management. Physical therapy exercises are designed to reduce muscle tension and improve alignment. This can help reduce pain in your day-to-day life.

Improved Mobility

Many people who struggle with back pain also have very limited mobility. This is because chronic back pain can lead to weakness in the back and abdominal muscles.

During back pain therapy, patients focus on strengthening these weak muscles and using gentle stretches to improve their range of motion. Over time, mobility improves, making it easier for patients to enjoy the exercise routines they love.

Techniques Used in Physical Therapy

When designing a back pain relief treatment plan, physical therapists will create a custom plan that incorporates a range of treatment techniques. These techniques relieve pain and support long-term muscle and joint health.

Manual Therapy

Manual treatments can be very effective for back pain therapy. These treatments apply physical pressure to the areas that are in pain to relieve discomfort and improve alignment.

Physical therapists often use gentle massage techniques to address pain caused by muscle tension. These techniques are often paired with joint mobilization and manipulation, in which the physical therapist adjusts a stiff joint to improve mobility and alignment.

Therapeutic Exercises

These exercises are designed to address muscle weakness in the back muscles and core muscles. During an appointment, the physical therapist will guide the patient through these exercises and then prescribe an exercise program to do at home.

Improving strength and flexibility can help reduce chronic low back pain over time. These exercises can also help patients improve posture, which is a very common cause of lower back pain.

For patients who struggle with extreme back pain, the physical therapist might also teach breathing exercises and other relaxation techniques. This back pain relief treatment helps patients with pain control during their daily lives.


Many physical therapists will use stimulation techniques to ease pain in your back. This could include a heating pad, ice pack, or electrical current.

A heating pad or electrical stimulation machine increases blood flow to the affected area and can help ease muscle spasms. Ice packs help reduce swelling and inflammation. All of these treatments can help reduce chronic muscle pain, and many patients also find them relaxing.

For patients struggling with nerve pain, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation can also be very effective. This treatment for back pain delivers an electrical current straight to the affected nerve, which can help block pain signals.

Find Your Back Pain Solution With the Illinois Back Institute

Chronic back pain doesn’t have to rule your life. Physical therapy is an effective treatment for back pain that can help you eliminate chronic pain and live a healthier lifestyle overall.

The Illinois Back Institute offers non-invasive and drug-free back pain treatment. We offer treatment options for nerve pain, muscle pain, joint pain, and more. Our approach addresses the underlying cause of your back pain for better long-term results. Get in touch today to learn more or schedule your free consultation.