Pain Management with Physical Therapy
Statistics state that as many as 100 million Americans are suffering from chronic pain. Solutions for this condition are often short-term, involving taking medications for extended periods of time, having injections on a regular basis, or even having surgery to try to resolve the pain.
Mentally, chronic pain sufferers struggle to maintain a normal lifestyle. Surviving daily life is a difficult task at best. Depression affects approximately 50% of chronic pain sufferers, or half of those with this condition. Approximately 13% commit suicide to escape the ravages of the pain.
The fees for pain management options cost sufferers close to $600 billion a year.
Pain Management Options
Visiting a physical therapist has traditionally been seen as the proper course of action in recovering from work-related accidents, any conditions requiring long immobility to regain usage of limbs, or after surgeries. Now, studies are showing a link between physical therapy and improved pain management.
According to an article published on webmd.com, physical therapy, or PT, can help in relieving pain, in addition to promoting healing. When treated by an educated and trained physical therapist, relief can be experienced from the effects of chronic pain.
The normal procedure for physical therapy begins with the patient being referred to a physical therapist for rehabilitation. Once the physical therapist has researched the condition of the referral, a plan of treatment is then pursued and outlined to the patient. The therapist will present either an active or passive approach for therapy. The following are examples of passive therapy:
- Heat and/or ice packs
Some examples of active therapy include the following:
- Strengthening exercises
- Pain relieving exercises
- Low-impact aerobics
Just as the pain experienced by each patient is different, physical therapy treatments are created to fit each patient’s particular needs. Different body types, bodily alignments, and even different ways of moving are all taken into account when creating a specialized plan of physical therapy treatment for the chronic pain sufferer.
Institutions dedicated solely to pain management have developed over the years. Institutes such as the RIC Center for Pain Management now exist, providing support and an environment created with the chronic pain sufferer in mind.
The overall objective of any treatment of chronic pain is relief for the sufferer. Physical therapists strive to provide tailored care to help each patient attain this goal. What may be offered to the patient will include some of the following:
- Long-term pain management strategies and overall health maintenance
- Rediscovery and enjoyment of leisure pursuits and performance of daily tasks
- Family education and cooperation in aiding and supporting the patient along the road of therapy
- Mental and emotional support in dealing with chronic pain
The intricacy or ease of treatment will depend on the patient. Getting physical therapy to help battle chronic pain will not always mean freedom from medication or injections. Rather, physical therapy, used in conjunction with these treatments where indicated, can help maximize their effectiveness.
If you suffer from chronic pain, it is suggested that you discuss with your physician how seeing a physical therapist can help in treating your chronic pain more effectively.