Chronic pain in any area of the body can drastically reduce your quality of life. Chronic pain is created in the brain and can occur from various factors. Common medical factors that create chronic pain are fibromyalgia, reflex sympathetic disorder, diabetes mellitus, and physical trauma or injury. While chronic pain can greatly impact your day-to-day life, it does not have to restrict your ability to be comfortable and live a full and active lifestyle. Physical therapy is an effective option for combatting and treating chronic pain. Let’s take a closer look at the different ways a physical therapist can find solutions for your pain.
What is Chronic Pain?
Chronic pain is defined as any physical discomfort that exists for longer than three months – the typical amount of time expected for normal healing. Chronic pain can stem from an injury or an illness. When pain becomes chronic, the brain interprets all signals from the affected part of the body as a threat, making it more sensitive. This increased sensitivity makes the pain more consistent and intense, even when there is no further or existing tissue damage or other outlying cause.
Physical Therapy to Build Strength
Your physical therapist can help you with exercises and routines to strengthen your soft tissue and muscles. Chronic pain is typically caused by increased pressure on the nerves in your joints. Strengthening the muscles in problem areas like knees, shoulders, hips, elbows, and the spine can provide additional support, relieving pressure on your nerves.
Physical Therapy to Improve Flexibility
Creating and using unhealthy movement patterns is your body’s way of compensating to avoid pain from an injury or chronic pain in general. Because your body is now moving in a way that it was not designed to, further damage and increased wear and tear can result. Physical therapy can improve your body’s flexibility, allowing it to relax and operate normally.
Hot, Cold, and Electrical Treatments for Chronic Pain
There are various treatments that your physical therapist can use to reduce and relieve chronic pain and its symptoms. Hot and cold therapies are effective in reducing inflammation. Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, commonly referred to as TENS, is another effective tool that can be used to acutely treat pain. In addition, manual therapy, which is a gentle, specific, hands-on technique that manipulates tight joint structures and soft tissues, can help reduce pain as well. These therapies may be used independently but a combination of two or more is often most effective in providing pain relief, increasing range of motion and improving the overall health of the tissue.
The staff at Evolve Physical and Sports Therapy is experienced in helping patients with all types of pain, injuries, and conditions. No matter the source of your discomfort, our team has the tools and skills needed to help return your body to a healthy state of function. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for initial assessment and treatment.
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