After seven months of daily low back pain, I went to see a physical therapist. The therapist put me in all kinds of positions. How will this really help me?

Good question. The overall goal of this kind of testing is to find the trunk movements and positions that aggravate (make worse) or alleviate (make better) the symptoms. This gives the therapist some idea of how your spine moves and what factors add to your back pain.

>>From here, the therapist will teach you how to change the way you sit, stand, and move to reduce the stress on your back. For example, the therapist may find out that you have worse pain when trying to bicycle. Every time you bend your right leg, you lean to the side. This puts pressure on the ligaments and muscles around the spine. The therapist will teach you how to stop moving in a way that aggravates the soft tissue structures.

Linda R. Van Dillen, PhD, PT, et al. The Effect of Modifying Patient-Preferred Spinal Movements and Alignment During Symptom Testing in Patients With Low Back Pain: A Preliminary Report. In Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. March 2003. Vol. 84. No. 3. Pp. 313-322.

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