Back and Neck Pain – How Physiotherapy Can Help

Your physiotherapist will assess the causes for your back and neck pain, mobilize your spinal joints, and will give you advice on how to best maintain your thoracic mobility, essential for a healthy low back and neck.

Your physiotherapist will start by providing you with a thorough examination of your spine and thoracic mobility. Using manual therapy and other treatment techniques, your physiotherapist will help you to regain lost mobility, provide you with instructions on how to achieve ideal postural alignment, and prescribe therapeutic exercises that will support your spine. They also prescribe suitable and safe stretches or “pause exercises,” and provide tips on how you can correct your position when sitting at a computer. Your physiotherapist can also refer you back to your family physician in cases where they suspect an underlying medical condition may be causing your back and neck pain that requires further investigation.


Practical tips

  • Stay flexible. Optimal spinal health means having flexibility in all directions. If your thorax has limited rotation movement, more load and stress can be transferred to your lower back, neck or other body parts. You can check your rotation by sitting in a chair with your arms crossed across your stomach; with a flexible spine, you should be able to turn equally to the right and left, and see behind yourself easily.


  • Vary positions at work. Sitting at computers and desks all day puts increased pressured on your spine. After 30 minutes of sitting, make sure you get up and walk around to keep the flow of blood and fluids to the spine. You can also set up a standing workstation to vary your position while working at the computer. You should also make sure your work desk and computer are set up properly for sitting or standing, to encourage optimal posture.


  • Keep the core in check. Regain optimal control of your deep spinal muscles (core) following an episode of neck or back pain with regular exercise to strengthen the core.


Download the Back and neck pain tips patient info sheet 

PABC presents its educational references as a public service and for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional physiotherapy advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

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The Canadian Physiotherapy Association (CPA) represents physiotherapists, physiotherapist assistants and physiotherapist students across Canada. CPA members are rehabilitation professionals dedicated to the health, mobility and fitness of Canadians.

Physiotherapists are primary health care professionals who combine their in-depth knowledge of the body and how it works with specialized hands-on clinical skills to assess, diagnose and treat symptoms of illness, injury or disability.

More than 20,000 registered physiotherapists work in Canada, in private clinics, general and rehabilitation hospitals, community health centres, residential care and assisted-living facilities, home visit agencies, workplaces, and schools.

The CPA presents its educational references as a public service and for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The opinions expressed do not necessarily represent the opinions of the CPA membership.