A Physical Therapist's Role in Chronic Pain Relief

A Physical Therapist’s Role in Chronic Pain Relief

Ready to Relieve Your Chronic Pain?

Chronic pain is extremely common – with more than 100 million sufferers alone in the U.S. So if you\’re struggling with chronic pain – you\’re not alone.

Standard pain medications have so many undesired qualities that you can\’t rely on them to fully treat your pain, which can leave you wondering if you’re just stuck with your pain.

Luckily, there is another potential solution. Physical therapy has been shown to be effective in reducing or eliminating chronic pain. With the right treatment plan, you may be able to reduce your discomfort significantly.

How can a physical therapist help relieve my chronic pain?

1. TENS, Ice Therapy, Heat Therapy

Physical therapists have a variety of tools at their disposal to treat your immediate pain as well. They can use things like transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), hot and cold therapies to help reduce inflammation and ease some of the pain you are feeling. These therapies can also help improve your body’s ability to heal.

2. Safe movements

Most people are not fully aware of how they move in their day to day activities. You could be bending over, lifting, walking, running, sitting, or moving in some other manner that is contributing to your chronic pain. Learning how to improve the issues with your movements can significantly decrease the pain you experience.

Your first session with your physical therapist will include an exam where they watch the way you perform different activities – like walking – to identify any possible problems. Once they know where things are going wrong, they can teach you how to improve so that you do not unknowingly increase your chronic pain.

3. Flexibility improvement

Improving your flexibility can also help reduce your pain. When you are suffering from an injury, it is common for your body to compensate in some way to avoid the pain – which can lead to unhealthy movement patterns that you may not even be aware of.

The way your body compensates may help right after the injury, but over time it will lead to wear and tear on other parts of your body. If you feel really tight or locked up in one way or another, you are probably experiencing this type of situation.

Physical therapy can gently relax your body so that you can return to moving in a healthy manner. Your physical therapist will work with you to ease the tension so that your body can move correctly and increase the strength of the muscles surrounding the joint so that you can maintain the correct movement patterns.

4. Strength training

Depending on your condition, your physical therapist may teach you some exercises designed to strengthen your muscles and soft tissues.

It may seem strange that getting stronger is recommended by medical science when you are in pain – since exercising may be painful in and of itself, especially at first. But there are good reasons to try and make you stronger.

Often, the cause of chronic pain is pressure on nerves in your joints, whether your spine, knees, hips, elbows, or some other joint. When you make the muscles around those joints stronger, they are better at providing support – which can take some of the pressure off of your nerves.

What should I know about chronic pain?

As stated by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke,

“While acute pain is a normal sensation triggered in the nervous system to alert you to possible injury and the need to take care of yourself, chronic pain is different. Chronic pain persists. Pain signals keep firing in the nervous system for weeks, months, even years.

There may have been an initial mishap — sprained back, serious infection, or there may be an ongoing cause of pain — arthritis, cancer, ear infection, but some people suffer chronic pain in the absence of any past injury or evidence of body damage. Many chronic pain conditions affect older adults.

Common chronic pain complaints include headache, low back pain, cancer pain, arthritis pain, neurogenic pain (pain resulting from damage to the peripheral nerves or to the central nervous system itself), psychogenic pain (pain not due to past disease or injury or any visible sign of damage inside or outside the nervous system).

A person may have two or more coexisting chronic pain conditions. Such conditions can include chronic fatigue syndrome, endometriosis, fibromyalgia, inflammatory bowel disease, interstitial cystitis, temporomandibular joint dysfunction, and vulvodynia. It is not known whether these disorders share a common cause.

Find relief for your chronic pains today

If you’re struggling with chronic pain, we want you to know that we’re here to help. Our physical therapy team can design an individualized treatment program to help relieve your pain and improve your life. Please don’t hesitate to contact Total Performance today to schedule a consultation!

We’re Hiring!
We have immediate openings for multiple positions. Everything from Physical Therapists to Admin Roles.

Scroll to Top