Physical Therapy – Efficacy and Effectiveness for Pain Management

Physical therapy is one of the best solutions, according to experts and physicians, to help manage pain. It aims to tackle inflammation, stiffness, soreness, and pain with exercise, manipulation, as well as massage. It works in order to help the body heal itself by inducing the production of pain-relieving chemicals that are naturally present in the body.

Researchers have proven how physical therapy is one of the best and safest choices one can make when dealing with long-term pain (also called chronic pain). Not only does it make an individual stronger and more flexible, but also helps them move easily (without any support or assistance) and feel better without costly surgery or excessive pain medicines.

Physical therapy in Dallas helps a patient get to the source of the pain. They look for areas of weakness or stiffness in the body that may be adding stress to the places that hurt. They will then treat those specific areas with certain manual techniques, modalities, as well as exercises to help ease pain and help patients move better. By treating the pain at its source, physical therapy helps prevent recurrence better than actually treating the symptoms.

If you’re also looking to manage your chronic pain through physical therapy, you have come to the right place. This article will talk more about how physical therapy is an effective solution for pain management:

Recommended by Physicians

Physical therapy is regularly recommended by physicians.  Even studies and research have shown numerous benefits of physical therapy. An article from Health Services Research stated that patients with lower back pain who received care from physical therapies had experienced lower out-of-pocket, pharmacy, and outpatient costs after 1 year, and also reduced their likelihood of receiving an opioid prescription by 87%, compared with patients who never visited a physical therapist. 

Can Be Used in Different Areas

Physical therapy can be used for a variety of injuries and diseases as well. There are numerous pain-causing conditions that could benefit from this therapy- from back pain to fibromyalgia, headaches, rheumatoid arthritis, and neuropathic pain or reflex sympathetic dystrophy. Physical therapists help provide gentle and manual therapy techniques, therapeutic exercises, and various heat or cold modalities to help alleviate pain levels while building strength and conditioning as well.

Exercise

Exercise is the best way used in physical therapy to treat pain. In fact, it is the predominant method of treatment. Research has shown that physical inactivity and weakness are linked to chronic pain problems. From bad posture to lack of mobility and misalignment, physical therapists look at all possible problems and find the root cause of the pain

Moreover, a study that involved 20,000 people who were receiving constant physical therapy over the course of 11 years, found that those who exercised on a regular basis experienced less pain. Moreover, chronic widespread pain was 28% less common in those individuals who exercised 3 times a week. Thus, physical therapists prescribe exercise specific to each individual’s goal and need to help with pain management.

Low-Impact Aerobic Training

During the physical therapy, the therapist introduces the patient to low-impact aerobic training, which helps rev up their heart rate. However, this type of aerobic training does not put a lot of pressure on the joints. For instance, a patient might walk fast or use a stationary bike to warm up, instead of running. Thus, this type of aerobic training helps to manage pain.

Usage of Different Modalities

Physical therapists help alleviate pain by the use of modalities such as ice, heat, or electrical stimulation applied to specific areas. Heat boosts the flow of blood through the muscles, as well as nutrients to a specific area of the body. It often works best for muscle stiffness as well, or to warm up muscles before activity. Cold, on the other hand, slows blood flow, reducing swelling and pain.

Using Cupping as an Additional Treatment

Physical therapists also make use of cupping for pain management. Cupping is used to alleviate pain, ease scar tissue that is present deep within muscles as well as connective tissues, and also reduce swelling and muscle knots. The use of cupping in physical therapy has been used for quite a long time by therapists and physicians for both acute and chronic low back pain. Several studies have also shown a significant reduction in pain intensity scores who opt for cupping in therapies.

The Graston Technique

The Graston technique is a form of massage in which therapists use an instrument to press over the area that is causing pain. In addition to releasing knots and inflammation, this technique also helps in identifying the main problem and what is actually the root cause of the pain. The Graston Technique is one of the most scientifically proven forms of techniques used by therapists to help alleviate pain. It’s been proven to be effective 75-90% of the time in order to treat injuries, as well as chronic pain.

Graded Exposure

Emotions such as fear are often associated with pain. Therefore, each physical therapist slowly introduces movement and activity back into a patient’s life. Graded exposure generally involves visualizing movement followed by slowly and safely beginning to move in ways that are pain-free, in order to start the process of returning to normal activities. This type of approach used by physical therapists has also been shown to help in pain management, and restore the ability to perform everyday activities as well.

Psychologically Informed Physical Therapy

Studies have shown that pain is closely related to and is also influenced by psychological factors such as fear, anxiety, and depression. A physical therapist helps address these factors and has shown to drastically reduce the amount of pain a person is experiencing.

Home Program

Physical therapists also aim to help each individual develop a home program that is tailored to each person’s specific needs and requirements. Research has shown that the positive relationship between a person and their physical therapist, both focused on the patient’s well-being, is an important factor in the recovery process.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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