What is the Most Common Injury in Physical Therapy?

Physical therapists treat a wide range of injuries and chronic issues. But what are the most common injuries that physical therapists treat? Here at Oakland Spine our team of 16 physical therapists help patients throughout Bergen and Passaic Counties at our Oakland and Wayne, New Jersey offices. Our physical therapy team treats a wide range of conditions and injuries, but there are some common injuries that physical therapies frequently encounter. Here’s a countdown of the top five injuries physical therapists see and what they can do to improve outcomes.

5. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Numbness, tingling, and sometimes weakness in the hand and arm are all symptoms patients with carpal tunnel syndrome experience. This stress injury can affect the inside palm of one or both hands and is often associated with repetitive stress movements, such as typing on the computer. However, there are many risk factors, such as wrist fractures, inflammation issues and obesity, that contribute to causing this painful syndrome to occur.

Before opting for surgery, patients can use physical therapy to reduce the numbness and discomfort of this condition. Using exercises like “gliding techniques,” cold/heat therapy as well as splinting, strengthening and stretching techniques, physical therapy may eliminate the need for invasive surgery.

4. Sports Injuries

Being physically active is always a good way to maintain health and wellness. Playing sports can not only help patients meet their wellness goals but it can also be a way to form strong bonds, build self esteem and socialize. You don’t need to be a pro or elite athlete to enjoy the benefits of physical therapy. From acute injuries like sprained ankles and groin pulls to repetitive stress injuries such as shin splints and tennis elbow, there are many reasons to see a physical therapist. Don’t miss out on the sports you love.

Physical therapists can help get you back in the game with therapies to help you regain muscle mass and strength while also improving your range of motion. Beyond helping address sports pain and injury, physical therapists can also train you to prevent future injuries.

3. Shoulder, Neck Pain and Headaches

Shoulder pain can be related to back conditions but it can also be caused by other issues including posture problems caused by deskwork and sitting for too long each day. Neck pain similarly can be exacerbated by daily activities such as working on a computer or bending down to look at a smartphone for hours each day. However, neck pain can also be attributed to injuries, such as whiplash, which is an all-too-common auto accident occurrence.

There’s yet another factor that contributes to both neck and shoulder pain and headaches. Stress is a part of our everyday life, but it can cause our muscles to tense and for tension headaches to become chronic. These types of issues can impede productivity, success at work and at home and make completing daily tasks nearly impossible.

Physical therapists can help patients get relief from chronic shoulder and neck pain through exercises such as stretching and core strengthening. For instance, sometimes building muscles in the chest and abdomen can help to provide greater support while sitting and standing. This helps remove some of the strain from overworked shoulders and chest.

When it comes to chronic headaches and migraines, physical therapists can work with patients on an individualized basis using manual therapy and targeted exercises. They can also learn about your lifestyle and help identify triggers that can then be better avoided to prevent frequent headaches from occurring.

2. Joint and Muscle Pain

The body has many soft tissues such as muscles and tendons that can be easily injured by accidents or simply through aging. From arm to leg pain, knee and foot aches, injuries, arthritis and degenerative joint disease can cause constant discomfort and limit range of motion, mobility and activities. One of the most common tendon injuries occurs at the Achilles tendon, located at the back of the leg around the ankle and above the heel.


Common muscle and tendon injuries include sprains, strains and tears. Joint pain can be caused by issues such as osteoarthritis, tendon injuries and injured meniscus, but this chronic pain can also simply be due to overuse of certain parts of the body. Physical therapists will use soft tissue therapy which includes soft tissue release and trigger point therapy methods for reducing pain and improving mobility.

1. Back Pain

It probably doesn’t come to any surprise to you that back pain is number one on our list. In fact, studies show that back pain is so common, nearly 2 in 5 adults in the U.S. suffer from back pain. It’s also one of the major causes of disability for people in the county. Back pain is caused by a variety of factors. Some people injure themselves at work by picking up something heavy or reaching in a way that twists the back. But there are other reasons for back pain, including herniated discs, spinal degeneration, scoliosis or spinal stenosis.

Through stretching, strength training, manual therapy and electrical stimulation, physical therapists can help patients who suffer from chronic back pain feel relief and become more active in their lives.

Help from Oakland Spine & Physical Therapy

If you have one of these common injuries or conditions that often cause chronic pain, consulting a physical therapist is a good step toward minimizing your discomfort. Through a wide range of techniques and therapies, your physical therapist can customize a treatment approach that’s right for you. At Oakland Spine, our physical therapists are highly trained and experienced in tackling these conditions (as well as less common causes of pain). With locations throughout Northern New Jersey and convenient weekend and evening hours, we make physical therapy an easy and accessible option that’s far less invasive and potentially more effective than more complex treatments.

Visit us in Oakland, Fair Lawn, Wayne, or Closter.