According to WebMD, “Physical therapy is often one of the best choices you can make when you have long-term pain (also called chronic pain) or an injury. It can make you stronger and help you move and feel better.” The overall goal of physical therapy is to reduce and eliminate pain, while simultaneously improving mobility and function.
This can be applied to any aspect of daily life, whether you’re looking to return to your sport, get back to doing labor-intensive tasks at work, or even simply reclaiming your life without the worry of pain. Fortunately, you can rid yourself of your pain and “get back in the game” – whatever that may mean for you – with the help of physical therapy. Give our office a call today to learn more about how our physical therapists can get you started on the path toward a pain-free life!
The effects of physical therapy on pain:
During a physical therapy session, you may engage in pain-relief exercises and stretches, strengthening exercises, or low-impact aerobic training. Pain relief exercises are designed to target the areas where you have pain and ease your symptoms, while stretching exercises help your muscles loosen up and relax. Low-impact exercises are easy on the joints and they help to increase your heart rate. You might be asked to use a stationary bike or to walk fast on a course around the building. You’ll likely be given exercises to work on your core muscles. Using your own body weight with pushups and lunges may be part of the treatment plan, as well.
Physical therapists also frequently use other modalities, in order to achieve pain relief and increased function for the patient. Some common examples of PT modalities include:
- Ice and heat therapies. Ice and heat packs may be applied to the affected area to reduce pain and inflammation.
- Massage therapy. Massage therapy may also be performed, which is a gentle therapy that helps in reducing muscle spasms and allowing your body to relax.
- Soft tissue mobilization. Soft-tissue mobilization is also common, which is used to increase mobility by addressing fibrous areas of muscle tissue.
- Direct manipulation. Direct manipulation of the joints can be done to improve functioning and maintain proper alignment.
- Electric stimulation. Electric stimulation therapy sends an electric current to the affected area, in order to reduce pain.
- Ultrasound. Ultrasound therapy sends sound waves to the affected area and blocks pain messages that are sent to the brain.
A physical therapist may also educate you about sensory re-education for chronic pain. Even after an injury has healed, the nervous system may still send pain signals. Sensory re-education helps desensitize the nervous system and decrease sensitivity to the affected area.
Important stats supporting the efficacy of physical therapy:
According to the APTA, “Studies have established the efficacy of physical therapy in treating and reducing pain, as well as preventing chronic pain.” Some statistics supported in these studies include:
- Success for low back pain. A review of more than 60 randomized controlled trials evaluating exercise therapy for adults with low back pain found that such treatment can decrease pain, improve function, and help people return to work. The American College of Physicians states that “non-pharmacologic interventions are considered first-line options in patients with chronic low back pain because fewer harms are associated with these types of therapies than with pharmacologic options.”
- Success for arthritis. Studies have shown that therapeutic exercise programs can reduce pain and improve physical function among individuals with hip and knee osteoarthritis.
- Success for pre- and post-surgical rehab. A review of 35 randomized controlled studies with a total of nearly 3,000 patients found that in patients undergoing total hip arthroplasty, preoperative exercise and education led to significant reductions in pain, shorter lengths of postoperative care, and improvements in function.
Contact us for relief:
Physical therapy is a noninvasive and holistic approach to pain management. You can avoid having to go under the knife or take harmful habit-forming drugs with physical therapy’s conservative approach. A physical therapist will do a comprehensive evaluation to determine the root cause of your pain and develop an individualized treatment plan based on your individual needs.
If you are suffering from pain, don’t suffer any longer. Contact our office today to discover how our physical therapists can help get you started on the path toward long-lasting relief.