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For patients battling chronic back pain, surgery should always be the last line of defense. Even the best surgery is only half the battle, said neurosurgeon Dilan Ellegala, MD. Connecting with the right spine focused physical therapist and following through on guided spine-strengthening exercises after surgery makes the difference.

“Patients must get focused spine therapy that re-strengthens the muscles that support the spine,” Dr. Ellegala said. “Anytime you make an incision, the muscles are weakened and you have to build those muscles back up. A weak muscle means pain and it also means abnormal spine movement.”

Dr. Ellegala said physical therapy is as important as surgery. “A physician can provide world-class surgery, but the right therapy and the patient continuing to do key spine health exercises after formal PT is over is critical to living without pain,” Dr. Ellegala said.

The most effective physical therapy focuses on core strength to build up the muscles that support the spine, leading to better posture and stability. Beyond the few hours spent in weekly therapy, patients must also put in effort at home to build up their strength and maintain a healthy weight.

The surgeon performs precision surgery in the operating room. The physical therapist guides a patient in recovery. For the best results, individuals must embrace healthy habits and activity for the rest of their life.

SonoSpine® works with preferred physical therapists that guide patients through specific exercises for optimal spine health. For more information about spine health, visit or call 855.982.1591.