Pinched Nerves Have Your Leg Hurting? PT Can Help

Waking with back pain

How Physical Therapy Helps Pinched Nerve Back Pain


Pinched nerve back pain can occur when the nerves in the spine get compressed or irritated due to several factors such as overuse, injury, or medical conditions like arthritis. This compression results in symptoms like shooting pains, tingling, numbness, burning sensations, and muscle weakness. It can make day-to-day activities like sitting, standing, walking, or even sleeping an excruciating experience.

While your doctor may recommend medications or surgeries to alleviate the condition, physical therapy offers a more natural and non-invasive alternative. Physical therapy focuses on restoring mobility, reducing pain, and improving a person’s overall fitness level. The therapy can include exercises, stretches, and techniques like massage and ultrasound to reduce inflammation, relieve pain, and improve the nerve’s function. Working with a licensed physical therapist to create a custom treatment plan can help to improve your quality of life and minimize the risk of further injury.

What to Expect at Physical Therapy

If’re seeking physical therapy for pinched nerve back pain, your therapist will first evaluate the source of your pain and any contributing factors. Through discussions about your medical history, posture analysis, range-of-motion, and strength tests, they’ll assess you comprehensively. Afterward, the therapist will use this information to create an individualized treatment plan based on your specific needs.

Types of Exercises You Might Do

Physical therapists typically recommend exercises that will target the specific area of pain, as well as those that will help you strengthen your core muscles. Core strength is especially important for relieving pinched nerve back pain because it can reduce the strain on your spine and provide support to your joints. Some typical exercises used include:

  • Stretches – Stretching helps to increase flexibility in the affected area, reducing tension and promoting circulation. It can relieve pressure from a pinched nerve by restoring its natural range of motion.
  • Strengthening Exercises – These exercises focus on building up strength in your core muscles, which can provide extra stability and support to your spine. Examples can include planks, crunches, squats, bridges, and leg lifts.
  • Balance Exercises – These exercises can help to improve your stability and coordination, reducing the risk of falls or other injuries. Balance exercises often involve standing on one leg for a period of time or using a balance board.

How Long Recovery Takes

The amount of time it takes to recover from pinched nerve back pain varies for each individual. Generally speaking, most people can expect to see improved symptoms within one to three months after beginning physical therapy treatment. However, some conditions may take longer to resolve, depending on their severity and other factors such as age and overall health. It is important to follow your physical therapist’s instructions exactly in order to maximize results and ensure a safe recovery process.


Physical therapy effectively treats pinched nerve back pain. A physical therapist can help you target discomfort and strengthen your core muscles, providing spine stability and support. Adhering closely to your therapist’s instructions may reduce symptoms within one to three months.