According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, around 1 in 5 people have chronic pain. In fact, approximately 80 percent of Americans have experienced (or will experience) chronic back pain.
As you can see, chronic pain is extremely common, with over 100 million sufferers in the United States alone, so you are not alone if you are dealing with it!
Standard pain medications have so many drawbacks that you can’t rely on them to fully treat your pain, leaving you to wonder if you’re doomed to live forever with the words “Ugh, my back hurts!” on the tip of your tongue.
Fortunately, there is another option to consider. Physical therapy has been shown to help people with chronic pain reduce or even eliminate it.
With the right treatment plan, you may be able to greatly reduce your discomfort. To learn more about physical therapy and its various benefits, call our clinic today for more information.
What is chronic pain?
Back pain that lasts longer than three months is referred to as chronic back pain. It’s a gradually worsening pain that gets worse with time and basic daily activities. In addition, the exact cause of back pain may be unknown. It’s possible that no one knows what caused it or where it came from.
Most people, however, can recover from back pain by understanding its causes, particularly those that are not caused by an incident like a car accident.
Back pain – the most common type of chronic pain
Chronic back pain may arise from two issues, including a sudden, traumatic injury or repetitive stress on the vertebrae.
Pain includes sensations, such as a prick, burn, tingle, sting, sharp pain, and aches. Acute pain is typically an expected bodily response to a severe injury.
According to the NINDS, however, repeated use of joints after an inflammatory response can worsen symptoms and accelerate disease progression.
According to the Mayo Clinic, those with poor posture, bulging or herniated discs, arthritis, skeletal irregularities, and osteoporosis are more likely to experience chronic back pain than their peers.
Other aspects, such as age, weight, poor lifting practices, and even mental health conditions, may increase the risk for back pain, and it only takes one injury for a condition to persist into the realm of long-term problems.
How physical therapy can help you find pain relief
There are several ways physical therapy can help you to find the pain relief you deserve.
1. Improving your flexibility
While the way your body compensates may help immediately after an injury, it will cause wear and tear on other parts of your body over time. If you feel really tight or locked up in one way or another, you are probably experiencing this type of situation.
Physical therapy can help you return to a healthy way of moving by gently relaxing your body.
Your physical therapist will work with you to relieve tension and strengthen the muscles surrounding the joint so that you can maintain proper movement patterns.
Improving your flexibility can also aid in pain relief. When you have an injury, your body will often compensate in some way to avoid the pain, which can lead to unhealthy movement patterns that you aren’t even aware of.
2. Increasing your physical strength
It may seem strange that medical science recommends getting stronger when you’re in pain, given that exercising can be painful in and of itself, especially at first. However, there are valid reasons to make an effort to improve your strength.
Pressure on nerves in your joints, whether your spine, knees, hips, elbows or any other joint, is a common cause of chronic pain.
When you strengthen the muscles that surround those joints, they become more capable of providing support, which relieves some of the pressure on your nerves.
Your physical therapist may teach you some exercises to strengthen your muscles and soft tissues, depending on your condition.
3. Electrical therapy and cold/hot therapies
Physical therapists have a wide range of tools at their disposal to treat your current pain.
Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), as well as hot and cold therapies, can be used to help reduce inflammation and relieve some of the pain you’re experiencing.
These treatments can also aid in the body’s ability to heal.
4. Teaching you how to move safely
Learning how to improve your movement issues can significantly reduce the amount of pain you feel.
The majority of people are unaware of how they move in their daily activities. You could be causing your chronic pain by bending over, lifting, walking, running, sitting, or moving in some other way.
Your physical therapist will conduct an examination during your first visit, during which they will observe how you perform various activities, such as walking, in order to identify any potential problems.
Once they know where things are going wrong, they can teach you how to improve so that you do not unknowingly increase your chronic pain.
Looking for safe, effective pain relief? Call our clinic today!
If you are struggling with chronic pain, we want you to know that we are here to help. Our physical therapy team can design an individualized treatment program to help alleviate your pain and improve your life.
Please contact us now to schedule an appointment.