Physical Therapy and Pain Management

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Physical Therapy and Pain Management

Too often in America, patients are given prescriptions for pain relief medicine or seek out over-the-counter pain relief options because they think that it’s their only and best option. However, as we know, this mindset has led to an opioid crisis. In fact, the most recent research from the CDC shows that 70,000 people in the US die each year from a drug overdose. This makes the role of physical therapy in pain relief more important than ever. Read on to learn more about the various types of chronic pain that can potentially be treated with PT. 

Recurrent Pain 

Often, patients with joint pain or arthritis tend to have difficulty moving and stretching the joints. Instead of masking the discomfort with pain medicine, a physical therapist can demonstrate stretching techniques and strengthening exercises to reduce the pressure on the impacted joints. They may even use manual therapy which helps loosen those tight areas. 

Weight-Related Pain 

Many times, those who are in daily pain are really suffering because they are overweight. Being overweight puts excessive pressure on parts of the body that aren’t meant to hold that much weight. It can also cause patients to overcompensate by using other muscles to help carry the weight, causing more pain. This is often mistaken for other injuries resulting in patients being prescribed medicinal pain relief.  

Post-Operative Pain 

Many patients are sent home with some kind of opioid after surgery. It would be recommended for them to limit the amount they take and supplement with physical therapy. Physical therapy can help them to regain mobility and strengthen the recovering areas with a long-term focus. 

Mental Impacts from Pain 

Pain can often manifest in ways outside of the physical. In fact, when patients suffer mentally due to their pain, it can create a slippery slope towards prolonged use of pain medications to cope. This can potentially lead to opioid addiction. This can lead to feelings of inadequacy, fear of pain and fear of dependency. Physical therapists are able to dismantle those feelings by showing techniques to manage pain. They are able to educate patients on proper body mechanics and how this pain is often caused. Once the patient is able to identify and manage pain triggers, they'll find relief in knowing that there’s a way to return to their normal lives without medicine. 

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