Do You Have Chronic Pain?Just because you haven't actually been diagnosed with chronic pain doesn't mean that you don't suffer from it. By definition, chronic pain refers to feeling pain for months at a time or longer. Many people suffer from it for years. Your pain could have been caused by a car accident or other type of injury, or it could stem from some sort of illness. Regardless of its cause, it isn't comfortable and can make your life more difficult. Seeing a physician is a good idea so that you can look at the cause of your physical pain.
How Does Physical Therapy Help with Chronic Pain?Physical therapy is designed to prevent additional injuries while providing treatment for and alleviation of pain. Physical therapists also work to help restore the use of your body and to make it possible for you to move properly again.
Many physical therapists use a combination of passive and active therapy to help with the treatment of pain. Passive therapy refers to taking ultrasounds and use heat or ice packs. Active physical therapy refers to stretching, low-impact exercises, strengthening exercises and exercises that are designed to provide pain relief. The type of treatment that your physical therapist will use will depend on the type of pain that you suffer from and its severity.
Other things will be looked at as well, such as any disabilities that you might have, your age or other health issues that you deal with. Being honest with your physical therapist about your pain will help him or her determine the right treatment options for you.
Many physical therapists also start small and then work their way up as their patients respond to treatment. For example, your physical therapist might start you out with gentle exercises and stretching. As your condition begins to improve, he or she might work with you on more exercises and more advanced stretching.
Why is Physical Therapy Beneficial?Physical therapy is beneficial for chronic pain for many reasons. First of all, it can help cut down on the amount of medication that you take. In fact, you might find that neither over-the-counter nor prescription pain medications are necessary when you undergo physical therapy. Plus, your physical therapist can help you determine the causes of your pain and can give you advice for managing your pain and preventing further injury.
How to Get the Most Out of Your Physical TherapyChoosing the right physical therapist is obviously important. However, there are things that you can do to make your physical therapy more effective against your chronic pain. Make sure that you keep your physical therapist informed about how you are feeling before, during and after your treatment sessions, and mention any changes that you might undergo during treatment. Also, your physical therapist might give you a list of exercises or stretches to try in the time periods between your sessions.
Taking the time to do these exercises can help you manage your chronic pain in-between visits with your therapist.
About the Author:
Mark Malone is board-certified in anesthesiology and pain management.