With acute pain, there is some relief in knowing that the discomfort is temporary.
Chronic pain is far more insidious; there is not always a light at the end of the proverbial tunnel for people suffering from this type of pain.
While a cure is not always possible for chronic pain, the pain can be managed. In fact, physical therapy can be highly effective in helping chronic pain sufferers manage their discomfort.
Understanding Chronic Pain
Chronic pain is defined as discomfort that lasts for six months or longer. In some cases, it is the result of a chronic health condition like migraines, arthritis, fibromyalgia or diabetes.
It can also be caused by a traumatic or repetitive strain injury or develop from generalized joint, muscle or nerve pain.
At times, chronic pain occurs for no identifiable reason.
How Physical Therapy Can Help
Physical therapy can be incredibly useful in situations where chronic pain is present because it provides an effective, drug-free strategy for pain management.
It helps by:
- Strengthening the body. Movement promotes wellness. Strategic strengthening and stretching can improve mobility, increase stability, boost flexibility, enhance endurance, reduce pain and improve the patient's mood. The exact mix of therapies used depends on the specific needs of the patient. Possible modalities include strengthening exercises, aerobic exercises, stretches, manual therapy, massage and passive manipulation.
- Treating the pain. Certain therapies can be utilized to decrease pain. Applications of heat, icing, laser therapy, ultrasound therapy and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, which is also called TENS therapy, are often highly effective in reducing inflammation and discomfort.
- Educating the patient. Providing a patient with safe strategies for accomplishing movement and other normal functional tasks can reduce frustration and allow the patient to be more active and independent.
When treating patients battling chronic pain, physical therapists create customized treatment plans that match the needs of each individual.
Make an appointment today, if you’re suffering from chronic pain who would like to learn more about the potential benefits of physical therapy.