Physical Therapy

Exercise may not sound like the best plan for someone in pain, but physical therapy (PT) is a vital cphysical therapy3omponent of chronic pain management. Physical therapy is effective for various types of pain related to acute or chronic conditions. At the Texas Pain Network, our physical therapists are highly-trained to help you work through any type of pain, with the goal of putting an end to your chronic discomfort.

The prevalence of chronic pain in the general population is approximately 25%. Chronic pain conditions include complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), whiplash injuries, fibromyalgia, low back pain, headaches, and orofacila pain. Physical therapy is a useful treatment modality for patients suffering from chronic pain.

What is physical therapy?

Also known as physiotherapy, physical therapy is a treatment designed to relieve pain and help the patient move better. The goal of physical therapy is to improve the patient’s fitness level and return the individual to the previous level of functioning. This therapy is also useful for the treatment of different types of surgeries, used either alone or along with other treatments. PT helps promote healing, relieve pain, and restore mobility and function of joints. A physical therapist is a specialist, skilled and educated in rehabilitation, and he/she works under the referral of a doctor.

What types of chronic pain are treated with physical therapy?

Physical therapy is used to get the chronic pain patient moving again. Many people who suffer with chronic pain find that movement is painful due to weak muscles and structures. Therefore, they often become sedentary, which further complicates the pain condition. Physical therapy is useful in the treatment of:

  • Fibromyalgia
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Chronic headaches

How does physical therapy help someone with chronic pain?physical therapy2

A physical therapist works with the chronic pain sufferer through a series of exercises that increase mobility of joints and muscles. The purpose of these exercises is to strengthen the muscles and mobility structures, increase flexibility, and improve overall functional status. Useful components of physical therapy include manual therapy, massage, as well as tools that manipulate the soft tissues of the impacted area.

What are the types of physical therapy?

Physical therapy can be passive or active. A physical therapist focuses on decreasing the pain with either or both of these therapies. Examples of passive physical therapy include heat packs, ice packs, manual trigger point therapy, dry needling, TENS units, and ultrasound. Active physical therapy involves stretching, strengthening exercises, low-impact aerobic conditioning, and pain relief exercises.

What are the phases of physical therapy?

There are two phases of physical therapy. During the first phase, the therapist focuses on reduction of pain. Deep muscle massage and other soft tissue and joint mobilization techniques are used to improve function and flexibility.

In this phase, patients are educated about their pain condition, the importance of improved posture and conditioning, and the role of the peripheral and central nervous system. In the second phase of physical physical therapy1therapy, the focus is on reduction of disability and suffering. The therapist and patient set achievable goals, which include physical goals (exercise), functional goals (work), and social goals (recreation).

What are the goals of physical therapy?

For chronic pain, physical therapy sessions usually last about 30 minutes and are scheduled two to three times each week. The first goal of physical therapy is to strengthen the muscles. In addition, other goals include build patient stamina and endurance lost due to the chronic pain, as well as increase stability and flexibility for the individual with chronic pain.

Is physical therapy the only treatment I will receive?

Physical therapy can be used along or in combination with other measures to effectively treat chronic pain. By increasing mobility and flexibility, physical therapy works toward the goal of returning the patient to a level of functioning that is near normal. Based on the principle that movement improves pain, physical therapy is an excellent treatment choice.