Exercise and Physical Therapy Physical therapy is comprised of two main parts—passive and active treatments. Soothing passive treatments, such as hot and cold therapies and massage, prepare your body for active treatments. Active treatments—which are generally known as exercise—improve strength, range of motion, and flexibility to help heal your spine and prevent further back and neck pain. Your physical therapy program may include exercises that Strengthen your abdominal muscles (a strong core helps support your back muscles) Improve range of motion through stretching and flexibility techniques Promote endurance and weight loss (aerobic exercises, for example, may best help you achieve these goals). Your physical therapist will teach you self-care principles so you understand how to best treat your back and neck pain. The ultimate goal is for you to develop the knowledge to maintain a pain-free lifestyle. It’s essential that you learn how to exercise and condition your back after the formal therapy ends. If you don’t implement the lessons you learned during physical therapy, you won’t enjoy its long-term results.