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What to Expect From Physical Therapy for Lower Back Pain

Lower back pain is a battle for millions of Americans. A 2018 survey by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that 28% of men and 31.6% of women have had lower back pain at some point in the last three months.

Sometimes lower back pain resolves on its own; however, for others, it can be so severe that it affects their ability to work and function day to day.

Physical therapy is a wonderful tool for back pain, whether new or chronic. The goal of physical therapy is to reduce lower back pain and restore mobility. So long as patients are active participants in their program, many patients find some or total relief from their symptoms.

Patients in physical therapy often have questions, including how often they need therapy, what therapists do to treat pain, and how long typical treatments last.

How Long Does Physical Therapy for Lower Back Pain Last?

The number of sessions a patient has is truly individualized for each person. You should keep attending physical therapy until you reach your physical therapy goals.

It is also important to note that you and your therapist may change treatment goals if they do not see progress. But on average, patients can expect to be in physical therapy for six to eight weeks as strength and mobility progress with every session.

If your back pain continues to be severe or even worse, physical therapy may take longer or may be recommended after surgical intervention.

On the contrary, some patients find rapid improvement in symptoms with only a few physical therapy sessions. If that is the case, attending just a few sessions to learn exercises you can continue to do at home is helpful.

What Does a Physiotherapist Do for Lower Back Pain?

There are two types of interventions used by physical therapists; passive physical therapy and active physical therapy.

Passive Physical Therapy

Passive physical therapy can include heat application, ice packs, or electrical stimulation from a TENS unit. Many therapists combine passive treatments with active therapies. For example, they may apply ice to the back after a session.

Active Physical Therapy

Active physical therapy is when the therapist focuses on teaching specific exercises and stretches for the lower back. It is usually the main component of programs, especially for patients with lower back pain.

Home Many Times Per Week Should You Go to Physical Therapy?

The number of sessions per week is individualized to the patient's treatment goals. You may discuss with your therapist increasing or decreasing the number of sessions based on symptoms.

Naturally, once symptoms are improving, you will likely need fewer sessions. It is important that patients do not quit physical therapy before discussing it with their therapist. Sometimes therapists can add new exercises to the program that may continue to build strength and mobility.

Find the Best Physical Therapy Services Near You

If you are experiencing lower back pain, it's time to be evaluated before your symptoms worsen. Physical therapy may be one of several interventions that an orthopedic doctor may suggest to help you manage your symptoms.

Pinnacle Orthopaedics has a team of licensed physical therapists and physical therapy assistants who work closely with our physicians to give you the best personalized treatment and recovery care plan. Our team of physiotherapists have years of experience handling various types of orthopedic cases and have helped many patients return to their normal lives.

At Pinnacle Orthopaedics, we help patients manage their pain with a solid physical therapy program at our four convenient locations, here to serve you:

Find the Best Orthopedic Doctors Near Me & make an appointment

Our orthopedic doctors use the latest technology and surgical interventions to provide only the best care for our patients. We value high-quality orthopedic care, so our surgeons are fellowship-trained and focus on a range of injuries and orthopaedic conditions.

Contact us today to learn more about what we can offer to help you manage your pain!


The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.