Physical therapy vs. surgery for back pain

physical therapy vs surgery for back pain

Back pain is one of the most common conditions that affects millions of American adults every year. In many cases, back pain is nothing more than a temporary, mild soreness after a long day of hard work or sitting for too long. However, long-lasting back pain or intense back pain may be the symptom of a condition that requires treatment.

Treatment options for back pain vary for person to person. Some people need nothing more than some ice and light pain medication. Many others can benefit from a well-rounded treatment from a physical therapist. In extreme cases, surgery may be necessary.

Physical therapy requires some effort on the patient’s part, so some people might be a little put-off and may only consider medications or surgery. However, physical therapy has many benefits that make it a more reliable and safe option than surgery.

Physical therapy vs. surgery for back pain: What’s the difference?

Physical therapists and surgeons take vastly different approaches to treating back pain, the main difference being that physical therapy involves no incisions, injections or other invasive forms of treatment.

Physical therapists primarily treat pain by guiding you through gentle, therapeutic exercises and stretches. They also use their hands to perform soft tissue and joint mobilization techniques. 

Surgery involves making an incision through your soft tissue to access the area that needs treatment. There, the surgeon makes the necessary corrections before closing your incision and starting the recovery process.

Physical therapy vs. surgery for back pain: Which is better?

It’s not our place to state definitely whether surgery or physical therapy for back pain is right for you. Several factors play into making this decision, including medical history, age, weight and the severity of your condition. However, in general, surgery comes with higher risks that make it a last-resort option for most doctors. If it’s possible to treat the pain with a conservative treatment like physical therapy, this is usually the preferred route. 

A study from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center found that out of all its participants with spine pain, the half who only had physical therapy for treatment saw an improvement in their condition equal to that of the improvement in those who had surgery.

Visit Franklin Rehabilitation for back pain treatment

Are you suffering from intense or long-lasting back pain? If you’re ready to manage your pain and take back control of your life, it’s time to talk to Franklin Rehabilitation. At Franklin Rehab, our physical therapists can examine your condition and guide you through a personalized treatment program to help you reach your recovery goals. Contact our team today for more information about back pain treatment or to schedule an initial appointment