People often think that physical therapists only treat sports or auto accident injuries. They also treat back pain, a common cause of disability among Americans. Here are a few reasons for back issues that therapists can address to improve the quality of your life.

What Causes Back Pain? 

1. Osteoarthritis

Individuals over age 40 are the most likely group to experience osteoarthritis or OA. This joint condition often affects the lumbar region of the back, as the cartilage between the lower disks wears away with age. 

physical therapistThe facet joints between the disks grow dry and brittle, potentially forming bone spurs. Your body may create these growths to improve stability, but they can stiffen the spine as the body tries to make up for cartilage loss. Individuals with spinal OA may also have spinal stenosis, in which bone spurs press on the nerves and cause leg numbness and weakness.

2. Muscle Strain

Sports and heavy lifting often cause short-term muscle strains by pulling or twisting the back’s muscles and tendons. A physical therapist can help you change repetitive movements like how to approach tennis serves or yoga moves to avoid worsening long-term strains that can happen with avid sports players.

3. Nerve Issues

Physical therapists often treat sciatica, a nerve pain that radiates from the lower back to the hips, bottom, and down the legs. This condition occurs as the spine narrows and places pressure on the nerves, creating inflammation and pain. Most patients have sciatica on one side of the body. 

4. Ruptured or Bulging Disks

Spinal disks feature interior jelly-like centers and dense, rubbery exteriors to promote stability and flexibility. Herniated disks are also referred to as bulging or ruptured disks. These occur if the disk interior pushes out against the exterior ring because of trauma like falling or when the nucleus dries out due to aging.

Continued pressure can create a bulge as the outer area pushes outward, adding pressure to the spinal cord and nerves. This issue can also cause sciatica.


If you’re interested in scheduling an appointment with a physical therapist, contact Snyder Physical Therapy & Sports Rehabilitation in Lincoln and Lancaster County, NE. The highly experienced team focuses on building relationships with their patients to provide the best care possible. Call (402) 489-1999 or visit their website for information on their specialty and sports rehabilitation, functional training, and therapeutic massage.