Chronic pain treatment: Is PT the answer?

Chronic pain is a general term for persistent bouts of pain triggered by the nervous system for extended periods over time. Chronic pain can usually be traced back to a chronic condition, like arthritis, for example. Research estimates that nearly 21% of people in the U.S. experience chronic pain. If you’re one of them, find out what conditions may be behind your pain and why physical therapy treatment may be a good option for managing it.

What are some of the top causes of chronic pain?

There are a variety of conditions that can cause chronic pain to occur. Just a few of these conditions include:

  • FibromyalgiaFibromyalgia is a condition in which a person experiences pain and fatigue in their muscles. It may be challenging to use the body comfortably or to move without experiencing rapid onset fatigue. People with this condition often experience trouble with memory, mood and sleep. Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition that can’t be cured but can be managed with treatment.
  • Osteoarthritis — Osteoarthritis is one of many kinds of arthritis. It causes the joints to degenerate over time and is usually the result of wear and tear on the joints. Osteoarthritis most often affects the hands, back, knees and hips. This type of arthritis occurs when the cartilage in between the bones deteriorates until, eventually, the bone meets bone and they begin to grind against each other. The pain osteoarthritis can cause is chronic and usually progresses slowly over time.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis — Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is another form of arthritis that can cause chronic pain. Although this condition can’t be cured, it can be managed with treatment. RA is a disease in which the immune system attacks the joints and mistakes the joints for a threat against the body. Over time, someone with RA will experience pain, swelling and limited mobility around the affected joints.
  • Multiple sclerosis — Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease involving the body’s immune system. MS involves the immune system attacking the covering on the outside of the nerves in the brain, which can have various effects. It can cause nerve damage in the spinal cord and the brain and vision loss. MS can also cause chronic pain and fatigue. Physical therapy treatment may not be able to get rid of the symptoms of MS completely, but it can help make these symptoms easier to manage.

How can physical therapy benefit someone with chronic pain?

Physical therapy can be impactful for someone with chronic pain because it can help them manage the severity of their symptoms over time. If you have chronic pain, a physical therapist can help you do the following:

  • Improve your muscle strength — One way a physical therapist can help someone with chronic pain is by improving the strength of their muscles. This is in part because building muscle strength through exercise can reduce tension and increase the body’s capacity to bear stress. 
  • Improve your flexibility — Chronic pain can cause your body to stiffen and tighten over time, but exercise during PT can help release that tension and improve your range of motion. Many arthritis patients benefit from PT because it helps them improve flexibility in their joints and limits stiffness.
  • Modify your daily activities — Your physical therapists can teach you how to modify the activities you perform each day so that you can still feel independent and mobile during painful flare-ups. 
  • Learn how to avoid triggers — Not only can your physical therapist show you how to modify the activities you’re performing, but they can also teach you which activities to avoid. If you and your physical therapist can identify particular triggers that cause you pain, they can help you practice avoiding these triggers. 
  • Get better sleep — If your chronic condition is affecting your quality of sleep, physical therapy can help you reduce tension and pain so that you can get better rest at night.

Back in Motion can treat your chronic pain

Our team of physical therapy professionals at Back in Motion Physical Therapy can address your chronic pain at the root. They’ll use a variety of treatments and techniques to treat your pain, including manual therapy, strength training and stability exercises. The goal of your physical therapy session is to give you all the tools you need to manage your symptoms. At Back in Motion, we’re committed to doing our best to help you get back on your feet during a flare-up and to prevent future flare-ups. 

If you have any questions or concerns about how else we can improve your chronic pain, we encourage you to reach out to us. Let us walk you through the treatment process and the additional specialty programs we offer. 

Start your treatment with us for your chronic pain as soon as possible. Contact us today to schedule your initial appointment.

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