Have you been suffering from chronic pain, or pain lasting longer than three months? If so, you are not alone. According to the American Academy of Pain Medicine, at least 100 million Americans are living with chronic pain. Because of this, there has been a larger and larger demand for prescription pain medications within recent years. To put this in perspective, in the year 2013 alone, physicians prescribed nearly a quarter of a billion opioid prescriptions. That equates to about one bottle per person living in America! This rising demand for pain medications has led to the opioid crisis we face today, due to the excessive abuse and overdose of the drug. Opioids contain dangerous and addictive chemicals that many people have unfortunately fallen victim to.
In response to this public health epidemic, many people have been searching for safer pain relief strategies. Luckily, physical therapy has been a successful solution. Whether your pain is acute or chronic, a physical therapist can help you get back to your normal life through natural and non-invasive treatments, without the need for potentially dangerous drugs.
How does physical therapy relieve pain?
Physical therapists are highly experienced in the fields of movement and dysfunction. With their knowledge, they are able to provide a combination of passive and active therapy treatments that are aimed at relieving pain due to injury or another condition. They are able to do this in several ways, including:
1. Providing techniques and services that have been studied and supported by scientific research.
Rigorous study and strong research are just two of the many ways that the successes of physical therapy have been proven. These studies have provided credible evidence toward physical therapy treatments, illustrating how they can significantly reduce a vast number of pain-related conditions. The implementation of care backed by scientific research allows physical therapists to greatly improve their patient outcomes.
2. Using a series of techniques that have little-to-no side effects.
Some common treatments that physical therapists provide include massage, ultrasound, joint mobilization, electrical nerve stimulation, and diathermy. These are all natural treatments that have a very low risk of side effects, especially when compared to other methods of pain relief, such as surgery and medication.
3. Addressing pain at its root.
Part of the reason why physical therapy is so successful is because it gets to the base of the problem in order to alleviate pain completely, rather than just masking the issue. Pills may be easier to pop in your mouth for pain relief, but their success is short-lived. The effects of many medications only last for 12-24 hours, meaning you’ll have to continually pop pills if you want to maintain your relief. Essentially, it masks the pain but doesn’t fix the problem.
Fortunately, physical therapy does. Your physical therapist will perform a thorough evaluation at your initial appointment, in order to determine where the pain is stemming from and what the best treatments for it will be. Physical therapy gets to the root of the problem in order to provide long-term relief, whereas medication only works in the short-term.
4. Implementing individualized exercise programs for your needs.
In addition to your passive treatments, your physical therapist will create an active exercise plan for you that is specifically tailored to your recovery process. Physical activity can help in reducing your pain significantly, in addition to reducing swelling, improving range of motion, promoting healing, and increasing overall strength and endurance.
5. Increasing your activity.
Participating in physical therapy is an engaging process that can inspire you to take a more active role in your pain management. Physical therapy sessions last anywhere from 30-60 minutes, allowing you to work closely with your therapist to achieve your goals. At the end of the day, physical therapy is the only natural, risk-free, and active method of pain relief, providing long-lasting effects.
If you or a loved one are currently dealing with pain, give our office a call today. We would be happy to schedule a consultation with one of our physical therapists to discuss how they can help you get back to a normal, active, and pain-free life!