physical therapy for lower back pain

Five important facts you need to know when choosing a Physical Therapy for lower back pain.

You have lower back pain and it does not feel good. You need a professional that can help makes sure you feel better and that it will not come back. Your family or friend have told you about their amazing Physical Therapy experience so you are looking for your perfect lower back pain rehabilitation experience. This article will help you in choosing a Physical Therapy clinic for your lower back pain needs.

There is a reason why Medical Doctors and insurances prefer Physical Therapy over Chiropractic care. The profession of Physical Therapy has been accepted by their medical peers due to their involvement in bringing high-quality research to the topic of lower back care. However, many people are not familiar with Physical Therapy.

The majority of the public understands that chiropractic is the professionals that can provide “quick neck and lower back pain fixes” and “manipulation”. The experience of getting Physical Therapy for lower back pain is much different.

Physical Therapy looks at the causation of your lower back pain. When you understand why your lower back pain is not going away, you can squash it for good.

If you go to a credible Specialist in Spine Rehabilitation, it can save you tons of headache and a speedy recovery that will last.

Below are the 5 factors that you (and many, including Medical Doctors) may not know when it comes to picking your perfect Physical Therapy care for your lower back pain.

1. Physical Therapy Assistance has no formal training in managing the spine.

Physical Therapy Assistance are a 2 year schooling program like register nursing. Many get an overview that does not support the clinical demands. The main goal is to give PTA a basic foundation so they do no harm.

The main teaching happens after school. The culture of where the clinic dictates if the PTA will be deemed okay or good with spinal care. There is an obvious factor of the Physical Assistant to have the hunger to want to serve all spinal patients to have a winning outcome.

The trouble is that many insurance led clinics have to see 3-4 people per hour or up to 120 people per week! There is no way for clinical mentoring hours. I was running around like a chicken with my head cut off. That was with a caseload of 2 per hour!

Many are tired and exhausted by the end of the day. The typical burnout of a Physical Therapist’s career in the outpatient rehabilitation setting is 5 years! You need relentless and hunger to improve when it comes to spinal care. We will elaborate more with the bottom 4 reasons.

The primary reason for a clinic to use PTA’s is for the plain reason to save cost. This can imply the decision to make money. PERIOD. Now the true intention of the clinic owner is up for you to decide.

2. Physical Therapy Aides have no training in Physical Therapy.

As we wrote about Physical Therapy Assistant, the training and what goes on in clinics with PT aides is “no bueno”. The same reason for using an aide is to maximize efficiency and make money.

If you have had Physical Therapy before, you know that there needs to be a lot done in order to get a comprehensive and expertise care to your pain and injury. Many clinic use Physical Therapy aides to offload the exercise prescription from the Physical Therapist or PTA.

Physical Therapy aides cannot do any hands-on treatment. The reason is that they are aspiring medical students. They are interested in and want more exposure. I was an aide, and there were numerous times that a client asked me what they were doing, and I had to guess. The clinic tried to educate us during clinic hours, but it was rushed. I had no exercise background. I was an undergraduate with a biology background. Those were scary times, and this is why I am writing this article for you.

3. Spinal Orthopedic Training is a specialty.

Here is a hidden secret. Many Physical Therapists are not comfortable treating spinal pain. If you ask a Physical Therapist which region do they prefer to treat, you might be surprised that lower back and neck pain is not their go-to answer.

Low back pain is complex and multi-factorial. If you have been reading the latest research or following our blog, you know we manage spinal pain with a combination of medical evaluation, hands-on treatment to improve your spine to move well, regain muscle coordination and functional strength, mental health with emphasis on pain science empowerment, sleep hygiene, and tips on how to recover optimally.

A common way for Physical Therapists to get all of these training is to go to seminars or Post-graduate fellowships that emphasizes on Lower back pain rehabilitation.

Another reason that many Physical Therapist shy away from lower back pain treatment is that it is very difficult to be precise and get predictably good outcome. It is easier to feel your knee joint. It is easier to find the small bones of your feet, elbow or hands.

The cervical, thoracic, and lumbar region take 1000’s of clinical hours for a Physical Therapist to feel comfortable to trust their hands.

4. Years of experience matters.

As we mentioned that all Physical Therapists need to go to more schooling to be comfortable helping people with spinal conditions, we believe it is easier to learn the science behind helping people with lower back pain or sciatica. The more discipline and skillful Physical Therapist will agree that you can only get the art of medicine through years of experiences.

Years of experience does not mean a Physical Therapist is a lower back specialist. There art of medicine is that intangible trait or skill that is developed through practice, being humble, and a desire to improve.

5. Back pain is more complex where the experts do not know the complete answer.

We are not a machine. We are human beings that happened to have a spine. If you are reading this article, you may have lower back pain.

What you may not know is that there is little consensus in the best evidence to treating lower back pain. There are many models that may help. There are many devices and techniques that may help in easing lower back pain.

The trouble lies in whether you will get permanently feel better. Quick fixes is easy. Long term resolution of lower back pain is more complex than what many experts are claiming.

What many will agree upon is that lower back pain requires a combination of multiple types of treatment. The treatment needs to involve a collaboration between the practitioner and the person suffering from lower back pain. This is called therapeutic alliance. Research is showing that 90% of pain has a environmental and mental involvement.

Beth Darnell PhD is a pain scientist from Stanford University. She comments that pain can grow based on your thoughts.

If many medical practitioners struggle to handle lower back pain on a high consistency, how do you expect the person that is suffering to understand the many layers of having pain?

A Physical Therapist goes to school for 8 years. There is 1-2 extra years to specialize in spinal care. That is 10 years of schooling that we try to condense to 4-10 sessions of a typical lower back pain care.

We, at ReVITALize Rehab Club, understand the odds of bringing consistent winning odds to the patients we serve. Hence we have committed to helping 12-15 people per week. We see you for 60-90 minutes. We give you the time to learn and ask questions. There is a priority in giving you the tools to win, from a physical, mental, and medical health perspective.

If you feel that you prefer to get Specialist care, and live in the surrounding Los Angeles or Long Beach area, click on the button below and let us know how we can contact you.

Hope this article helps give you the winning odds of finding the perfect Specialist care for your lower back pain.


Dr Danh Ngo

Doctor in Physical Therapy

Spine and Sports Medicine Specialist

Mind: Body Health Results Coach