Physical Therapy as a Treatment for Lower Back Pain

Guest article from Dr. Brent Wells

A man is holding his lower back with his left hand because they are experiencing back pain.

If you suffer from lower back pain, you’ve probably already searched for ways to help treat it. While there are various natural methods, sometimes they might not always work, especially if you have severe pain. However, there is one treatment to consider: physical therapy.

Physical therapy is not only a great holistic option, but provides incredible results. It usually will not only stop your pain, but also help your overall well-being. This article will explore more behind why physical therapy is a helpful treatment for lower back pain. You’ll also discover some techniques your physical therapist might use to help you.

What is Low Back Pain?

Low back pain is when the muscles around the lower portion of the back are either injured or sprained in some way. Low back pain can also be caused by a type of injury or disease to your spinal cord which results in tingling nerves or severe inflammation. If not treated, low back pain can lead to less mobility and other health issues.

What Causes Lower Back Pain?

There are a few things that can cause lower back pain. This includes:

Why Physical Therapy is an Ideal Treatment for Lower Back Pain

If you’re looking for a way to help treat your lower back pain without the use of surgery, physical therapy is ideal. This is because it works to:

  • Lower your pain levels
  • Increase mobility and flexibility
  • Help restore strength to your body

These are just a few of the many benefits that physical therapy will offer for lower back pain sufferers. In fact, many physical therapists will work to teach you how to deal with any painful flare-ups that might occur after your sessions. This can help to keep you calm while also reducing your pain.

Physical Therapy Techniques to Help Heal Lower Back Pain

yoga | Miller Orthopedic Specialists | Specializing in a wide range of orthopedic services enables Miller Orthopedic Specialists to provide personalized care plans that get patients back to optimum health.

There are many different techniques that a physical therapist will use to help heal lower back pain. Below are some you’ll find if you decide to use this form of therapy.

❏  They Will Use Various Modalities

Many physical therapists will encourage the use of modalities. This includes using cold or heat compresses, ultrasounds, and TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) therapy. These will work to naturally encourage your nerves to calm down while also reducing inflammation.

Depending on your needs, your therapist might recommend you use more intense versions of modalities for relief. Below is more information about these helpful modalities.

❏  Cold/Heat Compresses

Many physical therapists will ask you use to cold or heat compresses on your lower back. This is because this treatment can help to significantly calm down irritated sections in your body causing your pain.

Cold compresses will help to reduce swelling and inflammation. Heat compresses will help to release tight muscles and stop tension. Because of this, both of these can be very helpful when it comes to treating your lower back pain.

❏  Ultrasounds

Ultrasounds are a very helpful way to treat lower back pain. They will emit vibrations in the area where the ultrasound device is placed. This then works to release soft vibrations and heat to the area which helps to loosen the muscles in it. There have been a few studies which have shown that ultrasounds can help with lower back pain. They also can work to improve flexibility.


TENS therapy uses electric currents to encourage nerve stimulation. The TENS therapy machine is a very small device that is connected to electrodes. These electrodes are then placed on your body with a sticky tape. Once they have been applied, your physical therapist will turn the machine on. It will then start to release soft electric currents.

Depending on your needs, your physical therapist will either lower or increase the electrical impulses. You’ll need to have a few of these sessions done in order to have long-lasting results.

❏  Back Pain Exercises and Stretches

Back pain exercises and stretches will also usually be implemented into a treatment plan for you. This includes doing lumbar strengthening stretches (such as knee-to-chest ones) or various types of easy aerobic activities like walking and swimming. These exercises and stretches will usually be customized by your physical therapist depending on your needs.

❏  Spinal Manipulation

A few physical therapists might also implement common chiropractic techniques, such as spinal manipulation. This includes moving and adjusting your spine to help realign it. The movements will also encourage the reduction of inflammation around your spinal cord.

By doing these manipulations, it will also cause your body to release endorphins. These natural pain-killers can help to reduce lower back pain. Most sessions last only a few minutes and eventually can lead to the complete elimination of lower back pain.

❏  Deep Tissue Massage Therapy

You might be surprised to learn that many physical therapists also offer massage therapy services. Many physical therapists have seen the incredible impact that a deep tissue massage can have on lower back pain. This is because it helps to release tension and strain around the muscles near your spine. Because of this, it can help stop inflammation, calm irritated nerves, and even boost your immunity.

Massage can also help to encourage more flexibility in your body. This can help to not only reduce your lower back pain, but encourage you to be more active.

Most massage sessions will last for about an hour. They will involve various techniques depending on your needs. Some that your therapist might use are QL muscle massage and gluteus medius massage.

Physical therapy is an excellent treatment to use when it comes to naturally healing lower back pain. Your physical therapist will use various techniques, such as exercise and massage, to help provide you with relief. These treatments not only help to decrease and eventually eliminate your pain, but improve many other aspects of your health as well.

About Dr. Brent Wells

Dr. Brent Wells, D.C. founded Better Health Chiropractic & Physical Rehab in Alaska in 1998 and has been a chiropractor for over 20 years. His practice has treated thousands of patients from different health problems using various services designed to help give you long-lasting relief.

Dr. Wells is also the author of over 700 online health articles that have been featured on sites such as Dr. Axe and Lifehack. He is a proud member of the American Chiropractic Association and the American Academy of Spine Physicians. And he continues his education to remain active and updated in all studies related to neurology, physical rehab, biomechanics, spine conditions, brain injury trauma, and more.

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Miller Orthopedic Specialists

Specializing in a wide range of orthopedic services enables Miller Orthopedic Specialists to provide personalized care plans that get patients back to optimum health.

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