In spondylosis (spinal osteoathritis), your spinal joints don’t move as well as they used to because of age-related changes in your spine, similar to arthritis. This can make it very painful to move because of decreased mobility within the spine itself.
Your doctor may recommend physical therapy as part of your treatment plan because a physical therapist can help you maintain and increase mobility, learn ways to reduce pain, strengthen your spinal muscles so that they better support your spine, and stretch muscles that may be increasing nerve compression in your spine.
Physical therapy involves three main components: education, passive treatments, and active treatments. A physical therapist uses passive treatments to relax you and your body and to decrease acute pain or inflammation. They’re called passive because you don’t have to actively participate.
If you’re experiencing acute pain, you’ll most likely start with passive treatments as your body heals and/or adjusts to the pain. However, the goal of physical therapy is to get into active treatments. These are therapeutic exercises that strengthen your body so that your spine has better support.