If you have lived with pain for a while, you may have tried many options. Generally, a combination of different treatments is most effective. Have you asked you doctor about physical therapy?
People with chronic pain may be afraid that physical therapy (PT) will make them hurt more or even cause injury. While this is a valid concern, for most people PT can improve chronic pain conditions, including osteoporosis, tension headache, neck pain and back pain, knee problems and more. Effective PT requires working with a trained therapist who understands chronic pain. Conditions such as fibromyalgia require special knowledge.
In your first session, your physical therapist will likely evaluate your condition(s) and design a custom treatment plan. Typically designed to improve strength, flexibility, endurance, balance and/or coordination, most PT programs include a combination of stretch-ing, weight lifting, exercises for your core (back/abdominal muscles) and aerobic activity. Your physical therapist may also recommend aquatic therapy. Aquatic therapy decreases weight-bearing pressure and provides gentle resistance to help reduce swelling and increase circulation, ideal for most people with chronic pain. You will likely also learn safer, more efficient ways to lift, bend, carry, etc. It is important for you to know that your therapist will tailor a program to match your level of fitness.
Rx for PT
The number of sessions to be prescribed will likely depend in part on a person’s insurance coverage. A typical PT program can range from 6 to 12 sessions. Between PT sessions, you will be asked to practice your program on your own. Staying active on a regular basis is critical. Active people stay active longer.
Who Benefits Most from PT?
Physical therapy can be effective for all ages, including infants to the geriatric population, and is helpful for a wide range of conditions, from neurological to musculoskeletal, and from acute to chronic conditions.
Please note that if there is an acute flare up with a disease or injury, then waiting to resume PT is important. Once the flare up is over or the condition has gotten to the point that you can partake in PT, you should return to your prescribed program and stay active. Ask your doctor if physical therapy maybe right for you.
PainPathways is the first, only and ultimate pain magazine. First published in spring 2008, PainPathways is the culmination of the vision of Richard L. Rauck, MD, to provide a shared resource for people living with and caring for others in pain. This quarterly resource not only provides in-depth information on current treatments, therapies and research studies but also connects people who live with pain, both personally and professionally.
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