OA Causing You Back Pain? Learn What PT Can Do For You!

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How Physical Therapy Helps Back Pain Caused By Osteoarthritis


Osteoarthritis (OA) is a widespread musculoskeletal ailment that affects millions annually. It is characterized by joint pain, stiffness, and inflammation as cartilage in the joints progressively deteriorates. Although it typically impacts the knees, hips, spine, and hands, it can affect any joint in the body. Due to its chronic nature, managing OA can be challenging, and many find respite through physical therapy.

Physical therapy is an integral component of dealing with OA-induced back pain. It not only helps alleviate pain and improve mobility but also averts further injury or disability arising from feeble muscles and joints. Moreover, a physical therapist can tailor treatments to cater to your specific condition, lifestyle, and goals.

What To Expect At Physical Therapy

When you consult a physical therapist for OA back pain, their initial focus will be on assessing any areas of weakness or limitation that require attention. This comprehensive evaluation involves a range of tests, including measurement of range-of-motion and muscle strength, to identify any imbalances contributing to joint pain and stiffness. Based on the results of this evaluation, the physical therapist will devise a treatment plan that targets areas most impacted by your condition – this plan may involve manual therapy techniques, such as massage and stretching, as well as exercises tailored to strengthen weak muscles or improve range-of-motion.

Furthermore, as part of your treatment plan, the physical therapist will ensure that they instruct you on how to modify certain activities at work or home to prevent further injury to your joints or progression of symptoms. This will help you safeguard your joints while maintaining an active and functional lifestyle. With proper guidance and adherence to your treatment plan, you can expect to successfully manage your symptoms and live pain-free.

What Types of Exercises Might You Do?

The exercises prescribed during physical therapy for OA back pain will vary depending on your individual needs but may include:

Stretching – Stretching helps increase flexibility which can help improve range-of-motion in stiff joints while also reducing tension in tight muscles which often contribute directly to increased joint pain.

Strengthening – Strengthening exercises are designed to target weak muscles around the affected joints in order to better support them while performing daily activities without further injuring them due to overuse or strain from lack of strength. These exercises are often done with weights, bands, or free weights depending upon the level of difficulty needed for each person’s individual case.

Range-of-Motion – Range-of-motion exercises aim to enhance joint flexibility, granting greater freedom of movement. This, in turn, facilitates comfortable performance in daily activities, without the risk of overuse, strain, or discomfort caused by limited mobility.

Posture Correction – Improper posture can greatly contribute to increased strain on joints, resulting in elevated levels of joint pain. That’s why correcting posture is a crucial aspect of physical therapy for managing back pain caused by osteoarthritis. By ensuring proper alignment during daily activities, you can alleviate pressure on vulnerable areas and experience enhanced comfort. This, in turn, allows you to maintain a higher quality of life while performing necessary tasks and pursuing your desired activities.

How Long Will Recovery Take?

Recovery times vary. Typically, physical therapists see 3 major stages after diagnosis: stabilization (2 weeks), restoration (4 weeks), & conditioning (8 weeks). Compliance is key: attend all appointments & do all exercises. Good nutrition and rest periods also play a key role in successful rehab outcomes.


Physical therapy is key in managing osteoarthritis back pain, as it provides both short-term symptom relief and long-term benefits. Through strengthening exercises and stretches, physical therapy increases flexibility and lessens the risk of further straining fragile bones, muscles, and joints. With the help of trained physical therapists, individuals can improve their quality of life by achieving symptom-free living, empowering them to live their best lives possible!