Low Back Pain and Physical Therapy

Acute Low Back Pain (LBP) can improve without therapeutic intervention, but for a better long-term outcome, it requires more specific/detailed neuromuscular re-education of the deep spinal stabilization muscles such as the multifidius and transverse abdominis. A research article performed by Dr Hides et al from the Journal Spine demonstrated that these specific core stabilizing muscles do not recover automatically after resolution of the first episode of acute LBP. (1) Furthermore, fewer occurrences of LBP have been proven with retraining of these specific core/spinal stabilizers. (2)

A study from 2010 by Dr Gellhorn et al that was also published in the Journal Spine showed that treatment intervention of Physical Therapy (PT) with medication, has a 30-35% recurrence rate versus 75-85% recurrence with medication alone in a 1-3 year follow-up. (3) Additionally, they found that future healthcare costs are less likely for those who receive PT focused on this specific neuromuscular re-education after early episodes of acute LBP in comparison to people who receive PT at later times.

What does this mean for you? LBP affects a majority of the population at some point in life and prevention of future episodes of LBP after the first is key to having and maintaining a healthy back. But when you are having LBP, specific exercises provided by your Physical Therapist targeting highly specialized core muscles is the way to get back to normal!

For more information, speak to your MD or please contact us at either of our 2 convenient locations: Bridgewater NJ 908.203.5200 Chester NJ 908.879.5700

  1. Hides JA, Richardson CA, Jull GA. Multifidus Muscle Recovery Is Not Automatic After Resolution of Acute, First-Episode Low Back Pain Spine (PhilaPA1976) 1996, Dec 1:21(23):2763-9.
  2. Hides JA, Jull GA, Richardson CA. Long-term effects of specific stabilizing exercises for first-episode low back pain. Spine 2001, Jun 1:26(11):2243-8.
  3. Gellhorn AC, Chan L, Martin B, Friedly J. Management Patterns in Acute Low Back Pain: The Role of Physical Therapy. Spine. 2010, Nov 19.