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Physical Therapy Didn’t Help Your Back Pain? Try Again.

Low back pain is the second most common cause of disability in the US.  Almost 80% of the population will experience back pain at one time or another.  Having been a physical therapy practitioner for over 40 years I have treated thousands of clients with low back pain.  Most have endured pain for long periods of time.  Some clients have sharp, shooting pain down their legs, difficulty maintaining one position for any length of time, and have altered their lifestyle to accommodate the pain.

Unfortunately, I have heard so many say “I have tried physical therapy and it didn’t work.” Now the medical profession is quick to do injections, medications, and surgeries to correct back pain which often does nothing for the long term healing of the pain. Doctors are often bypassing Physical Therapy altogether as it is more  lucrative for medical corporations if patients  receive procedures, shots, and medications.

There are many types of physical therapy and with 40 years of practice experience I have used many methods of treatment.   Hot packs, ultrasound, electric stimulation, whirlpools and exercise, are a few of the methods that temporarily helped the pain but did not heal the back. The pain has been masked but the back is not healed.   It was when I began the study of manual therapy techniques inclusive of CRANIOSACRAL, visceral mobilization, and other hands on techniques that I recognized how to best treat and heal low back pain. It is very important to recognize that an injury to one part of the body has an effect on another.  An old whiplash injury or fall on the butt 20 years before the onset of low back pain may, in fact, be the culprit of the pain felt in the back today.  The body learns how to compensate. When one part of the body is injured other parts of the body compensate by rotating, bracing, tightening or loosening. It is a great system but sometimes all the compensation in the system is used up and VOILA ,  there is pain.   Pain is the body’s way of saying you need some help or change.

It is also very important to realize that the body holds onto both physical and emotional trauma which can manifest as pain.  Increased stress in one’s life can often contribute to occurrences of low back pain.  Craniosacral therapy helps to decrease the tension on the entire nervous system, helps relax the tissues and then manual therapy can help to move any vertebrae or release fascia and reduce nerve involvement should there be any.  I have witnessed clients with low back pain who have tried many medical technologies to get their lives back and they still endure pain.

They have worked to increase their core strength, have stretched for hours and still hurt.  When I work their entire systems to reach a balance allowing the structure to support the body without pain their lives have changed.  Often it is difficult to try just one more thing when you have been to PT 2X a week for 8 weeks, had MRI’s which have diagnosed arthritis and disc injury, you been injected, undergone surgical procedures, and still have pain. Getting older is NOT a reason you should have pain.  It is not a necessary part of the aging process. Masking the pain is not healing the pain.

It is important to treat the low back not as a separate entity from the rest of the mind, body or spirit and to use integrative techniques of diagnosis and treatment which are gentle and effective in healing the pain in your back. The incorporation of exercise and stretching into a program of recovery can become a part of treatment.  Don’t give up or accept that you will ALWAYS have back pain.


Kim Meyer Pelletier, PT,CST – Holistic Physical Therapist

Contact: Kim 860.208.1535
Email: Healpt@yahoo.com