Health & Fitness

Physical Therapy and Pain Management – What’s the Connection?

Therapy

It is estimated that around 100 million individuals in America suffer from chronic pain.

What does that indicate? This means an increased dependency on opioid prescription, which is not only addictive but dangerous as well if used extensively.

However, physical therapy Dallas is one of the safest and most effective ways to manage most non-cancer-related pain, as suggested by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDA). It is the most natural and safe way to treat chronic pain.

This article will tell you all you need to know about Physical therapy and pain management, as well as the connection between the two. So let’s begin. 

What Physical Therapy is Used For?

Physical therapy is used by therapists in order to lessen and alleviate sources of chronic pain. It helps treat almost all sorts of pain, except pain caused by different types of cancer. 

Physical therapy has, thus, been successful in treating Osteoarthritis, Fibromyalgia, Rheumatoid arthritis, Neuropathic pain, and Chronic headaches.

The primary goal of physical therapy is to help patients who have chronic pain to become stronger and flexible as they usually become weak from not moving, improve movement or ability, prevent disability, prevent or recover from injury, improve balance to prevent fall, and even help manage illness such as diabetes, heart disease, or arthritis. 

As a successful chronic pain treatment, physical therapy can also teach individuals how to move safely and functionally.

How does Physical Therapy Help Reduce Pain?

Physical therapists are professionals who don’t only know how to treat pain, but its source as well. First, they look out for areas that are weak and stiff and then treat those areas with several physical exercises in order to help reduce and ease the pain so that you can locomote better.

 Physical therapists can use a combination of these physical activities, such as:

Massage: Massage increases healing and disturbs the pain signals that are sent to the brain. Moreover, during the massage, the skin and fingers create friction, which helps increase blood flow.

Aerobics: Aerobics don’t put a lot of pressure on your joints, and help to drastically reduce pain.

Stretching: Stretching greatly reduces tension in our muscles that are supporting the spine, allowing greater freedom of movement.

Strengthening exercises: By increasing a person’s range of motion and conditioning the muscles, strengthening exercises significantly reduces pain. Common strength exercises include Squats, Calf raises, Leg extensions, leg raises, and so on.

Pain relief exercises: Therapists make use of such exercises in those target areas where patients feel pain the most. By these exercises, a person feels much stronger and more flexible and is also able to move more easily.

 

Ultrasound

: Waves are sent through ultrasound to the areas that hurt the most, and help to alleviate chronic pain.  

Passive modalities: These include the use of heat, ice, or electrical stimulation directed towards the painful area. The heat helps increase blood flow and nutrients to an area of the body, whereas the use of ice helps to slow down blood flow, reducing swelling and pain.

Exercise: Several research and studies have shown that those individuals who exercised regularly had experienced comparatively lesser pain than those who did not. Moreover, for those individuals who exercised more than 3 times per week, chronic pain was seen to be 28% lesser in them.

Microcurrent stimulation: This involves the use of alpha waves which are sent into the brain. This helps to increase serotonin and dopamine in order to manage pain naturally.

Benefits of Physical Therapy

Physical therapy is becoming increasingly popular as it is recommended by experts and professionals to be a much safer and effective option as compared to opioids. Moreover, it also has several more benefits:

Has Little or No Side Effects

Because physical therapy makes use of treatments such as massage, joint mobilization, stretching, pain-relieving and strengthening exercises, and much more, none of these have side effects. 

All of these treatments are natural and have a very low risk of side effects, especially when they are compared to other methods of pain management, such as surgery and medication.

Treats Pain at Its Root

Physical therapy is successful as it gets to the base of the problem, rather than just fixing it for the time being, in order to alleviate pain completely. 

Medication is easy to help alleviate the pain for a short period of time, but the pain can return again and can even be more severe. Moreover, the effects of many medications last only for 12-24 hours, which means that you will have to constantly take medication. Which can be potentially dangerous. Therefore, such practices only mask the pain but don’t necessarily fix the problem for the short term.

But, physical therapy does!

Physical therapists not only perform an extensive evaluation to determine where the pain is stemming from but will choose the best treatment plan. Or a combination of different treatments, to manage pain. Thus, physical therapy helps get to the root of the problem. In order to provide long-term relief and have effective results as well.

Supported by Medical-based research

There has been extensive study and research to prove the effectiveness of physical therapy in pain management. As a result, such studies and research have provided adequate credible evidence toward physical therapy treatments. Proving how they can drastically reduce a range of pain-related conditions.

Helps Improve Physical Activity

Taking part in physical therapy involves engagement. And can even inspire a patient to take a more active role in their pain management. 

Physical therapy will not only help alleviate pain, but will also help a person maintain their healthy lifestyle, and reduce the risk of illnesses and diseases, help manage the body’s blood sugar and insulin levels, and also improve the mental health of the person.

Physical therapy is usually half an hour or even an hour long. And it allows a person to work closely with their therapists. Both, the patient and the therapist work closely together in order to achieve goals.

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