What is the role of physical therapy in the treatment of mechanical back pain?

Updated: Aug 27, 2020
  • Author: Debra G Perina, MD; Chief Editor: Trevor John Mills, MD, MPH  more...
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Answer

Short-term physical therapy with gentle exercises may be of some benefit.

  • Short-term physical therapy has not been proven significantly more effective than self-care with instructions by the physician. However, patients appear to prefer therapy to self-care when surveyed.

  • Sertpoyraz et al compared isokinetic and standard exercise programs for chronic low back pain. Pain, mobility, disability, psychological status, and muscle strength was measured. Forty patients were randomly assigned to a program that took place in an outpatient rehabilitation clinic. Results showed an equal effect in the treatment of low back pain, with no statistically significant difference found between the two programs. [35]

  • Cost-benefit ratio should be considered prior to physical therapy referral from the ED.


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