Back Pain and Physical Therapy

Updated: Jan 13, 2021



Back pain is very common.  It is estimated that 80% of Americans will experience back pain at some point in their life.  Some of the common symptoms include:

  • Chronic Back Pain

  • Leg Pain

  • Sacroiliac Pain

  • Tailbone Pain

  • Muscle Pain

  • Nerve Pain

  • Difficulty Functioning

  • Difficulty Working

Types of back pain that may benefit from conservative physical therapy treatment:

  • Sciatica: Low back, buttock, and leg/ foot pain from compression or irritation of the sciatic nerve.

  • Herniated or Bulging Disc : tear or bulge in the shock absorbing disc between the vertebral bones in the spine causing back and leg pain and possible weakness.  More serious situations involve bowel or bladder symptoms which are an immediate medical emergency situation.  

  • Piriformis Syndrome:  buttock and leg pain from compression on the sciatic nerve from the piriformis muscle.  

  • Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction:  back , buttock and leg pain resulting from problems in the joint between the sacrum (part above the tailbone) and the illium (pelvic bone).

  • Muscle Spasm or Strain: tightness, trigger points, or cramping in the muscle

  • Spondylolisthesis: a shift of one vertebral bone over another leading to back pain.

  • Lumbar Spinal Stenosis: narrowing of the spinal canal which compresses the nerve possibly resulting in back pain.  

  • Scoliosis:  a condition in which the spine is curved side to side leading to possible pain and muscular imbalance. 

  • Ankylosing Spondylitis: a joint disease found more often in young men, resulting in pain and stiffness of the spine.

  • Cocydynia or Tailbone pain:  Pain in the coccyx or tailbone worsened by sitting that may be related to pelvic floor muscle dysfunction.

Conservative Physical Therapy Management of back pain may include:

  • Modalities: such as heat and ice

  • Manual Therapy:  “hands on” treatment to improve pain and restore function and movement. 

  • Mobilization and Manipulation:  movement of a joint to improve pain and restore functional movement.

  • Therapeutic Exercise:  specific exercise to improve pain and restore functional movement. 

  • Functional Movement Training:  exercises to improve posture and movement.

  • Biofeedback:  a way of using a computer or other device to “see” and improve body functions such as muscle activity or indicators of stress.   

  • Electrical Stimulation or TENS:  used to help improve pain, inflammation, muscle spasm, muscle function, and circulation.


To schedule an appointment with Clemens Physical Therapy call 304-842-6008


Physical Therapists are specialists in restoring movement and function related to muscle, bone, or joint dysfunction.  They often work to improve pain and disability.  To learn more about PT or find one in your area, check out a consumer oriented site on PT here   or the main site of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) here.

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