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How Physical Therapy and Exercise Can Relieve Back Pain

How Physical Therapy and Exercise Can Relieve Back Pain

Back pain contributes to an estimated 83 million lost days at work annually in the United States. Almost 65 million Americans report a recent experience with back pain, and 16 million live with persistent pain that affects their daily lives. 

It’s normal to rest when back pain flares. For the first 24 hours after an episode, that’s often a good idea. Chronic back pain presents more of a challenge. Resting may make matters worse. 

When struggling with back pain, visit Bahri Orthopedics & Sports Medicine Clinic in Jacksonville. We’re spine specialists ready to diagnose your condition and develop a custom treatment program to help you regain control of your life over your back pain. 

The importance of movement

As good as rest often feels, the human body is made to move. Your healing mechanisms are driven by blood flow. The nutrients necessary for recovery arrive at the site of an injury through the circulatory system. Even when you’ve got a degenerative condition like arthritis, your body still works away at minimizing pain and limiting the disease progression. 

When you have sudden, acute back pain, the injury usually heals in four to six weeks, regardless of whether you receive treatment. Pain management is the typical course of action to keep comfortable as your body handles recovery. 

Chronic pain is a different matter. Since pain is ongoing, outwaiting the condition while resting isn’t practical. The lack of movement compromises blood flow and encourages muscle atrophy. Your body needs movement to promote healing and preserve regular body functions. 

Physical therapy and exercise

That doesn’t mean you must hit the gym for a vigorous workout. That’s likely to make back pain worse. Our doctors typically recommend a combination of physical therapy and light aerobic exercise. Specific recommendations depend on your condition and pain level, but the general rule for chronic back pain is that some movement is better than none. 

Physical therapy

The goal of physical therapy treatments and exercises is to build strength in muscles supporting the area around the source of pain. Working with a physical therapist helps you to learn the stretches and movements that assist your recovery efforts. 

The exercises themselves shouldn’t hurt. Pain often arises from poor mechanics. Your therapist can catch and correct tiny errors, so you gain the greatest benefit from your exercise time. 


Along with your physical therapy activities, adding gentle motion in the form of walking, swimming, or cycling is a great way to promote pain relief through improved blood flow. Generally, physical therapy routines address strength and flexibility, while increased activity builds aerobic capacity. Studies show that a general program including these three aspects produces positive results for patients with chronic lower back pain. 

The best way to add pain-relieving activity is in conjunction with a doctor who understands the specifics of your condition, like those at Bahri Orthopedics & Sports Medicine Clinic. Contact our nearest office by phone or online to schedule your consultation today. 

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