How Physical Therapy Can Help Manage Chronic Pain
Chronic pain affects an estimated 100 million Americans each year. As the country’s population ages, these figures are expected to rise. Chronic pain is more than an annoyance; it can have a negative impact on one’s quality of life, including the inability to complete everyday duties or hold a job.
Chronic pain treatment methods are also evolving. Until recently, doctors would frequently prescribe pain drugs, but the opioid epidemic has substantially reduced this practice.
Physical therapy, massage, over-the-counter pain medicines, and acupuncture are all considered as alternative treatments. The end outcome is not only intended to relieve pain, but also to assist patients in regaining movement and enjoying life again.
The Benefits of Physical Therapy
Physical therapy is one of the few treatments for chronic pain that does more than just relieve or control discomfort. Treatment can assist the patient understand why he or she is experiencing a certain sensation in the first place, as well as strengthen relevant muscle groups to enhance endurance and range of motion. Here’s what to anticipate if your doctor has suggested physical therapy for persistent pain.
Physical Therapy as a Treatment for Chronic Pain
A physical therapist attempts to understand why certain muscle groups or tissues are weak or tight in order to address the source of chronic pain. Exercises are aimed to alleviate discomfort and improve mobility and ability to function on a daily basis by reducing stress exerted on these areas.
Treatment regimens vary depending on your situation and condition, however, they may include the following.
Exercises serve to strengthen muscles and joints while also improving mobility and breaking up the brain’s messages that any movement in the area causes pain. As a result, exercise for chronic pain aids in the retraining of your ideas.
Your treatment strategy may involve the following, depending on the afflicted location and issue:
- Low-impact aerobic exercises that raise your heart rate without putting extra strain on your joints.
- Resistance bands or your own weight are commonly used in strengthening workouts. It’s likely that your core will be involved.
- Exercises that target the area of your body where you’re in discomfort.
- Warm-ups and cool-downs can both benefit from stretching.
To reduce pain and enhance motion, several more passive forms of physical therapy can be used:
- Muscle knots and trigger points are treated by dry needling.
- To reduce inflammation and pain, use heat and cold.
- Improve blood flow with massage
- Pain Neuroscience Education (PNE) is a program that explains why pain happens the way it does.
- How to move without hurting yourself, including walking, lifting, sitting, and jogging techniques.