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  • Writer's pictureDr. Dustin Hancock PT, DPT

Understanding Morning Stiffness

Define Wellness and Physical Therapy Inc.

Osteoarthritis (OA)


Osteoarthritis (OA) is a chronic degenerative joint disease that affects millions of people worldwide. There are 3 segments of the spine: cervical, thoracic, and lumbar. In this article, we will discuss the lumbar spine, but arthritis can occur in any segment of the spine or any joint. Arthritis can cause stiffness, limited mobility, and chronic pain, which can negatively impact a person's quality of life. While there is no cure for arthritis, physical therapy has been shown to be an effective treatment option for managing the symptoms of arthritis in the low back.

Pain relief

One of the main goals of physical therapy for arthritis is to reduce pain. Physical therapists use a variety of techniques, including manual therapy, modalities such as heat and ice, and therapeutic exercises, to alleviate pain and discomfort in the affected area. Studies have shown that physical therapy can significantly reduce pain in people with back arthritis.

Improved joint mobility and flexibility

Arthritis in the back can cause the joints to become stiff and inflexible, which can limit mobility

and make daily activities more difficult. Physical therapy can help restore joint mobility and flexibility through exercises that increase the range of motion, strengthen muscles around the affected area, and improve balance and coordination. These exercises can help reduce pain and improve overall function.

Delayed joint degeneration

Physical therapy can also help delay joint degeneration by reducing stress on the affected area. Therapists can teach patients how to use proper body mechanics and postural alignment to reduce stress on the affected joint. They can also prescribe assistive devices such as braces or splints to support the affected area and decrease pressure on the joint surface.

Improved quality of life

Back arthritis can significantly impact a person's quality of life, making it difficult to perform daily activities and participate in recreational activities. Physical therapy can help improve quality of life by reducing pain, improving mobility and flexibility, and increasing overall function. By reducing the impact of back arthritis on a person's life, physical therapy can improve mental health and emotional well-being.

Avoidance of surgery

In some cases, physical therapy can help people with back arthritis avoid surgery. By improving joint function and reducing pain, physical therapy can help people manage their symptoms and delay the need for surgical intervention. Even in cases where surgery is necessary, physical therapy can be used as part of the post-surgical rehabilitation process to improve outcomes.


In conclusion, physical therapy is a valuable treatment option for people with back arthritis. By reducing pain, improving joint mobility and flexibility, delaying joint degeneration, improving quality of life, and potentially avoiding surgery, physical therapy can help people manage their symptoms and improve overall function. If you are living with back arthritis, talk to your healthcare provider about whether physical therapy is right for you

Define Wellness and Physical Therapy inc (Written by: Dr. Cheryl Moore, PT, DPT)

31896 Plaza Dr. Suite E3 San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675

Tel: 949-312-2485 Fax: 949-312-2856 Email:


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