Why Isn’t Physical Therapy Working For My Back Pain?

Category: Back Pain | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: January 31, 2017

Physical Therapy Back Pain

Whether you just came out of surgery or you’re simply dealing with a pinched nerve in your lower back, physical therapy is a common treatment option that helps patients with all different types of back problems. Physical therapy is a highly successful treatment option for all sorts of conditions, but it doesn’t always work for everybody. Today, we’re going to share some reasons why physical therapy may not be helping you with your spinal condition, and what you can do about it.



In order for physical therapy to be the most effective, you’re going to need to do it regularly. You can’t expect to achieve the best results if you only attend every other therapy session, or you only half-heartedly participate in the program. Commit to giving 100 percent during your physical therapy and rehabilitation sessions, and odds are you’ll begin to notice some reduction in pain or improvement in mobility.

Not Working The Right Areas

If your back injury is minor and you didn’t go in to see the doctor, you may have performed a self-diagnosis and then looked up some physical therapy routines on your own. This is a great way to combat your back pain, but only if you self-diagnose correctly and stick to the right physical therapy sessions. If you’re wrong, the exercises could be doing more damage than good. When in doubt, head into a spine specialist’s office to get an accurate diagnosis and specific physical therapy guidelines.

Too Soon After Surgery

Nobody likes to be laid up while waiting for their spine to recover after an operation, but that doesn’t mean you should rush into your physical therapy routine. Wait until your surgeon gives you clearance, or again you may make the problem worse. Your spine needs to heal and then strengthen. If you try to re-strengthen before it has healed from the operation, you may cause the surgery to fail. We know it’s tough, but try to give it time.

It Is, You Just Don’t Notice

Since physical therapy is different than traditional exercises like weightlifting or running, it can be harder to quantify your progress, and thus it’s harder to see that therapy is actually working. Don’t get discouraged if your rehab is taking longer than expected or your results aren’t as obvious as you’d like them to be. If you find it easier, consider starting a daily log of your sessions and the activities you performed. You’ll probably notice that you are doing more repetitions or you’re finishing activities quicker if you can look back and track each day. The important part is not to get discouraged, and speak to your surgeon or your physical therapist if you have any concerns over your rehab progress.

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