Why Does My Back Hurt? (We Answer This & Other Common Questions)

Back pain may be the one pain that seems universal. It’s one of the most common reasons people miss work, and at some point, almost everyone will experience an episode of back pain for one reason or another. Back pain can also be sneaky: you don’t realize how much you use your back until it hurts when you try to put on your shoes, or take a shower, or lift groceries from the car.

Q. “Why does my back hurt?”

A. This common question has an answer as unique as the person asking it. If you’ve overdone it working in the yard or on your weekend pastime, your back may be strained. If you’re experiencing pain radiating down your leg (sciatica) you may have spine pain. Still others may have age-related arthritis.

Q. “Will my back get better?”

A. It depends again on the individual condition and treatment. The good news is that almost everyone can expect to see some improvement in symptoms after Physical Therapy.

Q. “My dad had a bad back, will I get stuck with the same problem?”

A. Some conditions may have a genetic component; however, addressing pain/problems early on in Physical Therapy is a good way to help maintain strength, flexibility, and movement.

Q. “Will I need surgery?”

A. Many people with back pain fear surgery is a mandatory outcome. Given the range of causes behind back pain, as well as the chance that you’ll see improvement with consistent Physical Therapy, there’s no reason to expect you’ll need surgery for your back pain. While that may be one outcome, you may also see resolution without needing further intervention.

Q. “Can I try PT at home?”

A. People often try to DIY their treatment with internet searches and videos. The problem is that you’ll spend time guessing and trying exercises or stretches that may not benefit your condition. By visiting a Physical Therapist in person, you’ll receive expert in-person assessment and advice, plus a blend of manual (hands on) treatment, custom plan of care, and home exercise program.

Q. “Should I try ice or heat to help with pain?”

A. Generally speaking, ice works best for inflammation, and heat works best to soothe tight muscles. People often like heat better, but in the case of an acute (sudden) injury, ice is typically the better option.

Q. “Can I keep running/cycling/hiking/playing golf, etc?”

A. Most active people don’t like to slow down. A Physical Therapist can offer guidance on what activities are safe for you when you’re working on reducing back pain and discomfort. Generally speaking, for moderate to severe back pain and/or pain that persists or worsens with activiy, taking time off is recommended.


Back pain is a common condition that affects many people – and while painful and at times debilitating, by working with a Physical Therapist you’ll address both the symptoms of your back pain as well as what may be contributing to it. You’ll work with your PT to increase strength and flexibility, while reducing your pain level and returning to what’s more normal for you. If you’re dealing with back pain, don’t try to DIY it, visit a Physical Therapist to start making progress.

Body One PT is locally owned and operated with three locations serving Central Indianapolis: North Indy/Carmel, Fishers, and Zionsville. Our team of caring, expert Physical Therapists works with clients of all ages and activity levels and we’d love to add you to our list of happy patients. We know how hard it can be when you’re dealing with back pain…and how important it is to get a proper assessment and treatment – fast. Don’t DIY your own back pain treatment, call or click today and work with the Best PT Team in Indy!