Active Spine Program

Anyone with musculoskeletal pain knows how impaired function can keep you from doing what you want or need to do. The therapists of the URMC Active Spine Program are dedicated specialists who work closely with the medical center's physiatry and spine surgery physicians to offer a comprehensive and functional rehabilitation program. Our therapists work directly adjacent to the physician offices which allow for regular communication between the disciplines, and improve patient outcomes.

For acute pain our therapists will work to compliment the physicians recommended treatment. Pain medication, hot/cold packs, and other modalities will offer pain relief, however, they are best used to get you re-activated and returning to normal life activities. Staying active is one of the best things you can do to prevent longer term problems.

What to Expect

Patients will go through a detailed history and review of musculoskeletal and other relevant systems. During this portion of the exam careful attention is paid to the patient's current activity level as well as other social habits. These activities are highlighted since general lack of physical activity and smoking are highly correlated with chronic spine pain. The patient's pain is always considered during the examination, and for acute cases the exams are modified to ensure patients are comfortable through the entire process.

Patients are then taken through various movement screens and objective tests such as: strength, range of motion, and flexibility measurements. From these tests we can determine aggravating postures and positions as well as assess the general level of conditioning of our patients.

When appropriate, patients may also have baseline aerobic capacity and body composition measurements taken. These tests are painless and easy to administer, and they give the therapist some objective data to track your progress.


Our therapists will set up a personalized program to achieve your specific desired outcomes. Programs are tailored to each patient's ability, and advanced appropriately to avoid flare-ups.

In general our goals are to reduce your pain and get you back to the activities you want to do. Through a progressive exercise program we will teach you safe ways to strengthen the muscles around your spine, improve your aerobic capacity for long term weight management and cardiovascular health, and discuss proper body mechanics and ergonomics so you are not stressing your spine during your everyday posturing and positioning.

Frequency of Visits

All of us are aware of the rising costs of healthcare. Our program is unique in that we are able to instill in our patients the tools they need to make themselves feel better in less visits. Because our program is exercise based, once the patient is independent with their exercise routine and showing positive results they have the ability to maintain the program indefinitely at home or at the gym. This significantly reduces the cost to the patient, yet still achieves successful results. On average our patients are seen 5-6 times or less.

Group Class

Once patients have met their desired goals in physical therapy they have the opportunity to join our group exercise class. The group class consists of a series of routines designed to keep patients motivated and progressing their exercises after they have completed formal physical therapy.

The class is taught by a physical therapist or athletic trainer who is experienced in developing exercise routines for patients with a history of spine pathology. The classes are designed to be fun and energetic, and focus on maintaining the principles learned in physical therapy as well as focusing on general health and weight loss.

There are two difficulty levels of classes. The level one class is more for novice exercisers who are looking to maintain their spine and general health. The level two class is more focused on sport/athletic performance and is tailored for patients who are actively involved in athletics or who just want a bigger challenge.

Classes meet Monday - Thursday in our Brighton office.

More Information

For more information on our Active Spine Program or to make a referral, please call (585) 341-9150.