Almost 20% of the American adult population suffers from chronic pain, of which 8% experience high impact chronic pain. That’s over 50 million individuals across the US living with chronic pain! This is a condition that’s often tricky to identify and treat because of its confusing symptoms, while interfering with the person’s quality of life. The root cause isn’t always obvious, and the pain may persist even when there isn’t any tissue damage.
Simply out, chronic pain can be defined as pain that continues to persist for longer than 3 months. While the intensity of the pain may fluctuate, if left untreated, it can affect other aspects of your life as well.Chronic pain can decrease your range of motion and flexibility, restrict your movement, and prevent you from being able to performyour work, recreational, and daily lifeactivities.
Using Physical Therapy for Chronic Pain
Physical therapy is one of the safest and most effective methods of treating chronic pain and speeding up the healing process. Physical therapy interventions help in strengthening the joints and muscles, improve flexibility, and enhance other bodily functions. This not only provides relief from persistent pain, but also improves the overall quality of life and well-being.
In addition to this, physical therapy for chronic pain management is particularly recommended because it is an alternative to invasive and expensive surgical procedures, and doesn’t come with risky side-effects as opioid painkillers do. Thus, you can manage and treat chronic pain without having to worry about the risks and costs associated with other methods. Physical therapy addresses muscle inflammation and movement dysfunction, resolving the core issues sparked by chronic painin a safe and inexpensive way. What’s more, this form of chronic pain therapy also enables the central nervous system to withstand a greater pain threshold and makes it less sensitive to pain signals.
The biggest component of chronic pain management through physical therapy is a combination of exercises. The techniques and movements used by the physical therapist help in relaxing the body, increasing joint mobility, and improving flexibility. These may be categorized as:
Strengthening/stability exercises:Exercises used to strengthen muscles and tissues surrounding weak or painful joints. They may involve the use of machines, resistance bands, and other equipment. They also include exercises that focus on the body’s own weight, such as planks, lunges, or squats.
Stretching exercises: Exercises that focus on improving the patient’s flexibility and range of motion, allowing them to warm up without overstretching their muscles.
Manual therapies are also used for chronic pain management. This technique involves the physical therapist using their hands to perform healing exercises and massages to ease muscle pain and boost circulation. Manual therapies are particularly useful for releasing tension, treating myofascial adhesions and edema, and disintegrating scar tissue. The direct manipulation of joints in manual therapy restores alignment and functioning, while also improving elasticity and mobility.
At ProMove PT Pain Specialists in Bethesda, Dr. Michelle Finnegan provides effective chronic pain management treatment techniques through her expertise in physical therapy. Book an appointment now!