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Effective Treatment


You know how difficult it is to cope from day to day with lower back pain. Depending on the reason for your pain, sitting, standing, walking, or just moving in general can leave you in agony. Every day activities can feel impossible. No matter the reason, the quest for relief and effective treatment becomes paramount. Introducing the pt Health Lower Back Pain Treatment Program.

The pt Health Lower Back Pain Treatment Program

  • Prescribes appropriate stretches, strengthening exercises, and movements that patients can do at home to relieve back pain
  • Does not involve medication or painkillers and does not require surgery
  • Actively involves patients in their own recovery
  • Provides preventative strategies to deal with lifestyle, work, and other risk factors
  • Is also beneficial for post-surgical recovery
  • Is covered by most extended health plans
  • Starts quickly with next day appointment availability

You deserve the best lower back pain treatment available! We know you need relief! That is why the pt Health clinical team has developed the Lower Back Pain Treatment program. Our clinical approach involves a comprehensive individual analysis that takes your injury type, condition, risk factors, lifestyle, and work function into account so that you can get well and stay well – now!

Lower Back Pain Symptoms

  • Severe or aching pain after moving
  • Muscle spasms
  • Sciatica
  • Tight hamstrings
  • Loss of height is possible with compression fractures

Lower Back Pain Rehab

  • Addresses the full range of common lower back pain causes and conditions including back muscle strain, sciatica, lumber herniated disc, lumbar bulging disc, degenerative disc disease, isthmic spondylolisthesis, facet joint osteoarthritis, lumbar spinal stenosis, and compression fractures
  • Provides effective treatments designed to relieve pain that are targeted to each patient’s specific condition

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Back Pain Treatment for Younger vs Older Adults


Lower back pain is a common ailment, but the causes for it differ. In particular, there are certain kinds of low back pain that are more common in younger adults, and some that are more prevalent with an older population.

Younger Adult Common Conditions

Back muscle strain (pulled back muscle) or ligament strain

One of the most common causes of acute lower back pain. Lifting a heavy object, twisting, or a sudden movement (like a sneeze in the wrong position!) can cause muscles and ligaments to stretch or develop tiny tears.


Severe or aching pain in the lower back after activity, moving suddenly, or lifting a heavy object. Can be severe enough to prevent walking or standing. Pain can be dull and achy, but painful muscle spasms also occur.

Lumbar herniated disc (also called pinched nerve or bulging disc)

Discs can degenerate and break down, causing the inner core to leak out through the outer portion of the disc. The weak spot in the outer core of the intervertebral disc is directly under the spinal nerve root. Herniation in this area puts direct pressure on the nerve, causing pain to radiate along the path of the nerve through the buttock and down the leg.


Sciatica is a common symptom. Sciatica is low back pain that travels to the buttock and radiates down the leg (usually only on one side). Please visit (url address for our sciatica landing page) to learn more about how pt Health can help!

Degenerative disc disease

When the lumbar discs between the vertebrae begin to break down, damaged discs can cause inflammation and slight lower back instability. This common condition can affect patients as young as 20.


Chronic lower back pain worsened by certain positions and movements. The pain can be at a constant low level interspersed with episodes of severe pain and/or muscle spasms that can last from a few days to a few months. The pain is made worse by sitting and walking and running may feel better than sitting or standing! Frequently changing positions helps to relieve pain.

Isthmic spondylolisthesis

This occurs when a vertebra in the lower back slips forward on the disc space directly below it. It can cause low back pain from instability and nerve root pain (due to the compression of the nerve root). A fracture like this frequently occurs in childhood, but doesn’t cause any pain until young adulthood.


Deep ache in the lower back that worsens when standing or walking. The pain can worsen when bending backwards and tends to feel better when sitting, particularly in a reclining position. Legs may feel tired and may tingle or feel numb, especially after walking.  Typically the hamstrings are tight, making touching toes difficult.

Older Adult Common Conditions

Older adults can experience pain related to any of the conditions that affect younger adults. However, adults over the age of 60 are more likely to suffer from pain that is the result of more degenerative conditions that occur as a natural part of the aging process. Osteoarthritis and spinal stenosis are two of the most common causes of back pain in older adults.

Facet joint osteoarthritis (also called degenerative arthritis or osteoarthritis of the spine)

Facet joint osteoarthritis is a degenerative condition, meaning that it develops gradually over time. The pain is caused by the breakdown of cartilage between the facet joints of the spine. To start, the symptoms may come and go infrequently, but typically later develop into steadier pain the lower back. Sciatica may also be experienced along with lower back pain as the condition worsens.


Lower back pain and stiffness that is most pronounced in the morning and in the evening. The pain can interrupt sleep and there can be tenderness when the affected area of the spine is pressed. Extended activity can aggravate the low back pain. There is also typically a loss of flexibility in the back – bending at the waist might become uncomfortable, for example.

Lumbar spinal stenosis or degenerative spondylolisthesis

Both of these conditions place pressure at the point where the nerves exit the spine. Standing upright – as in normal walking, for example – increases pressure on the nerve and results in leg pain.


Leg pain that occurs mostly when walking or standing. Difficulty in walking any distance without pain – relief comes quickly after sitting down. Symptoms develop gradually and  fluctuate – some days are severe, some days there is no pain at all or the pain is very mild. Sciatica can also be a symptom.

Compression fracture

The possibility of compression fracture should be considered after the onset of any sudden back pain. This is particularly true for adults over the age of 50, especially in post-menopausal women with osteoporosis or in men or women with a history of long-term corticosteroid use. In someone with osteoporosis, even a small amount of force put on the spine – such as a sneeze or turning over in bed – can cause a compression fracture.


Sudden onset of back pain, limited flexibility, height loss. Standing or walking will make the pain worse, and the pain will lessen when lying down. Spinal flexibility will be significantly compromised and there will also be height loss. In severe cases, there might also be deformity and disability as a result.

Why Wait to Feel Better?

Research clearly shows that the sooner you start treatment for pain or injury, the higher your chances of feeling relief quickly. At pt Health, our clinicians are recognized leaders in the health care field. Many have respected roles in regulatory bodies, provincial associations, government committees, and mentorship programs. pt Health clinicians also train other health care professionals through continuing education courses and in post-secondary institutions. We believe our patients deserve the best treatment possible. That is why our clinicians continue to learn, teach, collaborate, and innovate throughout their careers at pt Health.

pt Health clinicians understand the complexities of pain, injury, and managing lower back pain concerns. We believe that every patient’s experience is unique and important. We have a team of dedicated, compassionate, and committed professionals who work together to make sure that you get well and stay well.

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Cynthia's StoryCynthia’s story

Cynthia is a 47 year old graphic designer who works from home. She and her husband started their family later in life, and her youngest child is finally in school full-time this year. Working at home has given Cynthia a lot of flexibility with her schedule, but between work and taking care of her family, she is very busy.

What are the chances?

While doing a load of laundry with a bad head cold, Cynthia bent over to pick up a basket full of wet laundry and sneezed as she was lifting the basket. She immediately felt a sharp pain in her back. She couldn’t lift the laundry basket, and spent the rest of the day flat on her back on the couch. Her back was spasming and the pain was terrible. She couldn’t believe that one sneeze had done this! After four days and countless Advil, she went to the doctor. He agreed that she had likely strained her back, but ordered x-rays just to be sure.


Much to Cynthia’s surprise, when the results came back, they revealed that she had degenerative disc disease (DDD). Her family physician told her that she had also strained her back, but that she needed to start physiotherapy to learn to manage issues that would arise from DDD. He referred her to a pt Health physiotherapy clinic close to her house.


At her appointment a few days later, her pt Health physiotherapist reassured her and said that DDD was not that uncommon. He said the pt Health Lower Back Treatment program involved therapeutic approaches for just this sort of condition but that the first step was to focus on taking care of the strained back. To start, he recommended massage therapy since Cynthia’s movement was obviously restricted. Over the course of the next few weeks, Cynthia’s pain was managed with acupuncture and IFC (interferential current). He also gave her a list of activities she was to avoid in the next few weeks while she was healing, including lifting laundry baskets!

Onwards and upwards!

Once the initial back strain had addressed, Cynthia’s physiotherapist worked on correcting her posture, noting that people with DDD need to strengthen their core muscles to help support the spine. He showed her exercises she could do at home for core strengthening and flexibility. He worked on her muscle balance so that she could maintain her range of motion and function optimally. Her physiotherapist also consulted with the occupational therapist (OT) at the clinic. The OT showed her how to re-introduce herself to activities she had been told to avoid during her initial rehabilitation and did a functional capacity evaluation to see how she was coping with her day-to-day tasks. The OT also did a physical demands analysis to see what Cynthia needed to do in a day – sitting and working on a computer, laundry, vacuuming, picking kids up, helping to coach soccer, etc. The OT then showed her how to modify the activities that put her at risk so that she could go back to her day-to-day activities as safely as possible.

Cynthia now

Cynthia’s initial back strain has resolved and – although she still worries about it a bit – she knows that she has been given the tools she needs to manage her DDD and still live a very full and busy life…with maybe a little less laundry.

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Coverage Options

At pt Health, we know that sorting out insurance paperwork can be time-consuming and confusing. We want your focus to be on getting well and staying well. With that in mind, we do our best to help you navigate through the necessary forms. We speak with your insurance providers and we’ll answer any questions you may have about your coverage.

pt Health services are covered by most health care insurance plans.  In most cases, if you are using your extended health care carrier or work plan, we do not require you to pay for your therapy sessions up front.* Instead, we bill your insurance company on your behalf.
If you have extended health care benefits that cover therapy, most auto insurance companies require that your claim be placed through your extended health plan first. Any remaining balances for services are then covered by your auto insurance plan. On your first visit, you may be asked to provide information about your extended health plan. If you do not have extended health care benefits that cover therapy, your treatments may be billed directly through your auto insurance company. For residents of British Columbia, ICBC covers a partial amount of treatment visits. Patients will be asked to co-pay the difference at each visit. If a patient has extended health care benefits, it is possible to claim the difference back.
Although each clinic’s approach to intake, assessment and therapy do vary, generally speaking your physiotherapist will ask a series of questions that will help better describe all of your symptoms in detail. Your physiotherapist can then carry out your assessment. The physiotherapist will examine you physically and discuss the findings, the cause of the problem, and suggest a solution that can effectively treat your health problem.
OHIP covered physiotherapy services must be provided by a designated OHIP physiotherapy clinic. OHIP covers physiotherapy treatments, but does not cover the cost of an initial assessment. To qualify for OHIP coverage, you must have a medial doctor’s referral, be 19 years or younger, be 65 years or older, or be receiving benefits under the Ontario Disability Support Program or Family Works. If you have been admitted overnight in hospital for a condition that now requires physiotherapy, you are also eligible.
Some pt Health clinics will be able to bill Blue Cross direction for physiotherapy and massage therapy treatments if you are a member of:

  • RCMP
  • DND
  • Canadian Forces
  • Veterans Affairs

For any treatments that are only partially covered, you may be asked to co-pay the difference at each visit.

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