I hurt my back in an on-the-job accident last week. I'm very interested in getting back to my regular exercise program and back to work. Should I tell my physical therapist this or just go with whatever program is set up for me?

By all means, make your interests and goals known to both your doctor and your physical therapist. This information will help them in making decisions with you about the best treatment for you.

It's easy to get into the habit of rubber-stamping an exercise program that fits the average patient. The program may have to be changed when someone has specific goals and activities in mind.

Not everyone has the same problems either. A recent survey of chronic low back patients in England showed a wide variety of concerns and problems. About half the patients listed "limited walking" as their biggest problem. Others had trouble with sitting, sleeping, stretching, dressing, and gardening. A back pain management or rehab program must be geared to these differences.