Spine Therapy

The spine is composed of vertebrae, nerves, muscles, discs, ligaments and the spinal cord. There are 7 cervical, 12 thoracic, 5 lumbar, 5 sacral and 3-5 coccygeal vertebrae. Between each vertebra are the spinal discs. Discs consist of two portions: an outside fibrous connective tissue layer (annulus fibrosis) and an inner gelatinous layer (nucleus pulposus) The annulus fibrosis allows pressure to be evenly distributed throughout the disc and the nucleus pulposus acts as a shock absorber for the spine.

spine physical therapy

Most back pain is caused by improper posture, overuse, repetitive motion, improper lifting or lifting something too heavy, poor muscular support, trauma, genetic factors and degenerative conditions.

Common Pathologies in the spine may include:

  • A herniated disc/bulged disc
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Spondylolisthesis
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Scoliosis
  • Osteoporosis
  • Injuries to the muscles, ligaments, joints, discs, spinal cord and vertebral fractures.

Because of the complexity of the spine, physical therapists need to evaluate each individual to determine the patient’s level of function and what treatment approach would be most beneficial. This may include a combination of exercise, hands-on-techniques, joint mobilization, stretching and modalities (ice, heat, ultrasound, electrical stimulation, traction etc).