UnityPoint Health - Meriter Spine Therapy Services

Emergency Department

202 S. Park St.
Madison, WI 53715

4 min Average
UnityPoint Health - Madison

Spine Therapy

Spine physical therapy is physical therapy treatment for injury or pain related to the neck, upper back, lower back and pelvis.

Our spine therapy program focuses on:

  • Clinical examination to determine the cause of your pain
  • Early treatment focusing on tissue healing which might include:
    • activity modification
    • getting tight joints to move better or loose joints to be more stable
    • specific exercises to lengthen, relax or strengthen muscles
    • physical agents such as ultrasound or electrical stimulation to help tissues relax or heal
  • Real life/functional activities that you need to be able to do without pain
  • Education so that you understand your body and can help yourself
  • Prevention of progression to a chronic spine problem
  • If chronic, specialized treatment for chronic conditions

Information About Back Pain

Spine pain is extremely common - studies estimate that as many as 80% of Americans have experienced spine pain. We recommend that you ask your doctor for a referral (or self-refer) to physical therapy soon after the start of your symptoms because research shows that people who receive physical therapy early have less need for multiple doctors' visits, imaging and medication and are less likely to end up with surgery or chronic pain than those who wait longer to see a physical therapist.

What sets us Apart

Our Spine Physical Therapists are not only equipped to help you feel better and be more active but also to understand how to help yourself so that you don't have another episode of pain. If your pain has already been there for a long time, our physical therapists understand how complicated pain becomes once it has been there a long time and include specialized care needed to address a chronic problem.

Getting an appointment

Spine Physical Therapy is offered at all of our outpatient physical therapy clinics. A doctors' referral is necessary if your insurance requires a referral and you would like your insurance to cover your therapy. Self- referral is also available for those prefer self-pay or whose insurance does not require a doctor's referral. Please call Central Scheduling to schedule an appointment at any of our sites.

Your First Visit

Your first visit we will address the following :

What is wrong with me?

  • Over the course of an hour, your therapist will interview and examine you to help you understand "what is causing your pain", develop a specific treatment plan and set goals to meet your personal needs. Your treatment plan will be based on your values, current research and expert opinion.

How long will it take?

  • On average patients are seen for 4-6 appointments however this varies depending on each individual patient. Your therapist will explain after your first appointment how long it will likely take to help you.

What can I do?

  • Each time you have an appointment your therapist will teach you how you can help yourself feel and move better.

What does the therapist do?

  • First your therapist will help you reduce your pain by using interventions/treatments to promote healing such as:
    • Recommendations in your activity such as reducing activities that stress and load your spine or increasing activity if you are not moving enough
    • Physical agents such as Ultrasound, Electrical stimulation or TENS
    • Manual Therapy such as mobilization, manipulation and massage
    • Traction
  • Next your therapist will get you moving or exercising!
    • Strengthening exercises
    • Flexibility exercises
    • Posture and body mechanics training
    • Balance training
  • All along your therapist will relate what you are doing in therapy to real life activities like:
    • Being able to return to activities you used to participate in is the primary goal of therapy. This is sometimes called functional restoration and may include:
      • Sport specific movement analysis and training
  • Job specific movement analysis and training
  • Daily activity movement analysis and training

What to Expect

Pain Reduction

Use of appropriate interventions may include:

  • Ultrasound
  • Electrical stimulation / TENS
  • Manual Therapy - mobilization, manipulation, massage
  • Traction

Functional Restoration

Being able to return to activities you used to participate in is the primary goal of therapy. Functional restoration may include:

  • Strengthening exercises
  • Flexibility exercises
  • Posture and body mechanics training
  • Balance training

Education Materials

Education will be part of each one-on-one session with your therapist. Discussion will include the following:

  • Your diagnosis and prognosis
  • Reasons for treatment
  • Proper technique to use with exercises
  • Proper posture and body mechanics
  • General wellness
  • How to prevent future injury

Body Mechanics and Back Care Class

This two-hour interactive class will teach you:

  • How to keep our back and neck healthy
  • Basic anatomy of the spine
  • Common causes of back and neck pain
  • Supportive sleeping positions
  • Body mechanics training for activities such as driving, lifting, racking, work and recreational activities