Being incapacitated by chronic back pain is not only difficult, it can also become debilitating and require that the sufferer have help to move around. Medication is frequently not effective enough to cease the pain and solve the spinal problems because it is not getting to the root of the cause. Undergoing surgery also has a limited success rate. The most effective prescription for chronic back pain is often physical therapy.

Physical therapy that focuses on the back is designed to be gentle and help to reduce the pain by going through a series of mild exercises to assist the joints of the spine to realign themselves. Having a physical therapy plan in place can help speed up the recovery process and encourage rehabilitation in the back. Exercising and strengthening the core muscles by using an exercise ball or a back stretching machine is frequently part of this therapy.

The goals of physical therapy are greater than just stopping the discomfort of the patient and speeding their recovery. Most often, back problems are the result of not using the spine, as well as the muscles, tendons and ligaments that surround it. A healthy back is an active and moving back. A major component to physical therapy is educating the patient on how to strengthen the different systems of their back to help avoid reoccurring problems in the future.

A good physical therapist is a trained medical professional who has the skills to work with the patient in creating an effective program to treat their particular problems and level of pain as well as increase their strength. Part of the therapist's job is to assist the patient with their exercises as many people find they hurt too much to be able to perform them without assistance.

Physical therapy is effective in ninety percent of cases, including those where the patient suffers chronic discomfort, unlike medication and surgery. As with all medical treatments, this works better for some individuals and is worse for others. The ability and determination of the patient to recover and the level of their commitment to the work is key to the process.

The average time for a full recovery from back pain for patients who have followed a physical therapy program is around five months from beginning to end. The question to ask yourself is: Are you suffering enough from back pain that it interferes with your ability to lead a normal life? If so, seriously consider asking your health care provider for a referral to an experienced physical therapist.