Think back to who you were ten years ago, and the things you used to love doing. What got you excited? What kinds of activities did you love to do? Were you a runner? Did you lift at the gym? Or did you just enjoy going for long walks with your pet? Now, take a step back and think long and hard about this one: What is stopping you from doing those same things now? Is it chronic pain?
If your quality of life has been lowered or hampered by an injury, lingering pain, aching joints, or lasting effects from an accident or surgery, physical therapy can help you get back to the activities you once loved. Call our office today to schedule an appointment with our physical therapist — your joints just may thank you later.
What is physical therapy?
Physical therapy teaches patients how to achieve life-long health through prevention or management of most movement limitations. You can also think of a physical therapist as a movement specialist. If there is a physical condition limiting your ability to move, a physical therapist can help. Most people falsely believe that physical therapists are only useful in cases where a person has just recently undergone an invasive and complicated surgical procedure.
If you’ve recently had surgery and are struggling with chronic pain, physical therapy can also greatly benefit your situation. Once your body has been repaired and the wound has been closed, the next natural step is to visit with a physical therapist to regain the function you once had. What most people don’t realize is that physical therapy’s usefulness goes beyond post-surgical rehabilitation.
How can a physical therapist help with chronic pain?
A physical therapist is qualified to treat problems with movement and balance anywhere in the body. However, these problems are generally categorized into three areas.
- Pre- and post-surgical rehabilitation. Most people are familiar with the role a physical therapist plays after surgery. Physical therapy can help you prevent any painful and limiting scar tissue buildup, regain your mobility and balance, increase your flexibility, and strengthen the affected area of your body. Recent studies have found that pre-surgical physical therapy shortens recovery time in patients who have cancer surgery, heart surgery, or total joint replacement surgery.
- General aches and pains. Over time, our bodies tend to break down. It’s a normal part of aging, but it doesn’t have to cause extreme amounts of pain. Conditions such as arthritis, tendonitis, bursitis, and other chronic aches and pains can all be relieved with physical therapy.
- Acute injury. A physical therapist can help patients find relief from aches, pains, and balance problems associated with an injury. For example, after car accidents, athletic injuries, or repetitive use injuries where the body’s structures are likely to repair themselves, patients are referred to physical therapy for pain relief, functional help, and future injury prevention.
What to expect with physical therapy and chronic pain
When we are limited by annoying aches and pains, it can be very easy to give up on normal movement or doing things we enjoy as we struggle to get better. This is why physical therapy is such a vital form of treatment: it works to give a person their life back!
A physical therapist begins by assessing your current movement and pain level. They may order imaging studies through x-rays, MRI’s, or ultrasounds to get a clear picture of the structures in your problem area. They will also put you through functional testing that measures your balance, mobility, and any restrictions you may have.
Next, a physical therapist will prescribe your treatment plan. This may include:
- Exercises you can do at home to increase the effectiveness of physical therapy.
- Manual therapies such as massage and ultrasound to reduce pain and inflammation.
- Stretching to relieve pain and increase range of motion.
- Functional exercises to help you increase your strength and flexibility.
The longer your treatment goes on, the more often your physical therapist will evaluate your progress and make adjustments where they are needed. The goal is to help you get back to the activities you love as quickly as possible, with the best long-term results.
Remember that no two patients are alike and neither are their pain symptoms. Your treatment plan is created just for you! It’s important to be honest with your therapist from the beginning so that they can help you to reach your goals and heal in the smoothest way possible.
It’s time to get your life back
You deserve to lead a normal, chronic pain-free life. If you are struggling with chronic pain that are getting in the way of your routine, call our office today to schedule a consultation and find out how physical therapy can get you back to enjoying the things you love to do.