Pain is a problem that can severely affect your life and keep you from completing or enjoying daily activities. Physical therapy services can help relieve symptoms and dramatically improve your ability to function normally. A physical therapist can evaluate your personal situation and create a treatment plan to reduce or eliminate your pain. Call us today to learn how we can help.
Defining Chronic Pain
Whenever a person is injured, pain signals travel from the injury site through the spinal cord and to the brain. Pain normally becomes less severe as an injury starts to heal. Chronic pain, however, is different. Your body will keep sending pain signals to your brain, sometimes even after the injury has healed. Chronic pain can last several weeks and even years. It can hinder your ability to move easily and effectively. Pain can make it difficult to engage in daily activities and complete normal tasks.
Chronic pain comes in many forms. It can occur in any part of the body. It can be sharp or dull, intermittent or steady. Chronic pain can have more than just physically. It can take a mental and emotional toll as well, draining your energy and motivation. It’s important to address your chronic pain as soon as possible by visiting a trained physical therapist.
Types of Chronic Pain
Chronic pain is usually caused by an injury such as a pulled muscle or a strain. Sometimes it’s the result of an automobile or other type of accident. Sometimes past health conditions or an infection can lead to ongoing pain. Chronic pain affects more than 1 billion people in the world and is generally divided into the following categories.
- Nociceptive Pain – Nociceptive pain is pain that is located in the muscles and soft tissues. This is also sometimes referred to as somatic pain. Back pain, pelvic pain, arthritis, and headaches are all considered nociceptive pain. Physical therapy can help reduce and eliminate pain associated with these conditions.
- Neuropathic Pain – This is pain that is associated with actual nerve damage. This type of pain is often more intense and is described as a sharp or stabbing feeling. Phantom limb pain, pain associated with post-mastectomy, and diabetic neuropathy are examples of neuropathic pain. A combination of physical therapy and electrotherapy is sometimes used to treat neuropathic pain.
Treating Chronic Pain
While medications can help on a short-term basis, too many people are becoming dependent on them. Fortunately, there are better options for treating your chronic pain. A physical therapist can use several specific methods to treat debilitating pain. The goal of physical therapy services is to gradually increase your flexibility and strength while reducing your overall pain. Some specific treatment options that may be used include the following:
- Deep Tissue Massage – A physical therapist will relieve tension in the muscles, ligaments, and tendons by applying direct pressure to the affected areas.
- Hot and Cold Treatments – Hot treatments will bring more oxygen and blood to the injured areas. Cold therapies can reduce muscle spasms and inflammation. Physical therapy treatments will sometimes alternate between different types of hot and cold treatments.
- Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) – TENS increases the release of natural endorphins to reduce pain throughout the body. This treatment can be used to reduce pain related to several conditions.
- Ultrasound – Ultrasound increases blood circulation and provides deep heat in muscles and joints. This can facilitate increased flexibility while reducing chronic pain.
Physical Therapy and Chronic Pain
Physical therapy can play a crucial role in alleviating and eliminating different types of pain. One of the most important aspects of providing an effective treatment plan for pain is to make sure it is personalized. Our physical therapy provides just such personalization. A physical therapist will do a comprehensive exam to assess the root cause of chronic pain. Using that information, the physical therapist will then customize an individualized therapy plan.
Physical therapy services are comprised of passive and active treatments. Active treatments are things like therapeutic exercises. Passive treatments are ones where the patient does not actively participate. Passive and active therapies are usually performed hand-in-hand. Physical therapists also teach you how to incorporate ergonomic principles into your daily life. The physical therapists will likely put together a personalized home exercise plan that will be part of your pain management program.
A physical therapist will work closely with you to set goals and manage your individual treatment plan. You and your therapist will ultimately work out a chart for activities and record progress along the way. Your therapist will also help you work through any difficulties and adjust your treatment as needed. The journey to overcome chronic pain and recover functionality and maximum mobility can be a long one. A qualified physical therapist will help you address obstacles and provide support while providing the best treatment available. Contact us at Bethpage & Ronkonkoma, NY centers to learn how physical therapy services can help you overcome pain and return to the highest level of functioning possible.