Pain is uncomfortable, but it’s a necessary evil. It’s a helpful messenger, an alert that something in your body needs to be fixed. Regardless, pain can also be an agonizing annoyance that ruins your quality of life.
Many pain problems are rooted in underlying conditions, often originating in a different part of the body than the part exhibiting symptoms.
Although pain medication may mask your pain for a little while, it isn’t going to solve a chronic underlying functional problem. If you’re looking for a more meaningful pain solution, take advantage of the drug-free options we offer at our physical therapy center.
Physical therapy: the natural and safe way to treat pain
Physical therapists are movement experts who can succeed where painkilling drugs fail. Once they find and understand the actual origin point of your pain, they can prescribe a physical therapy regimen that is specific for reducing or correcting that functional abnormality.
During your therapy journey, you can expect our physical therapists to begin by immediately addressing your discomfort with passive physical therapy techniques. These natural treatment techniques may include any or all of the following:
- Ultrasound therapy, in which sound waves enhance blood flow and relax tight muscle fibers
- Electrical muscle stimulation, which uses tiny amounts of current to stimulate your body’s natural painkillers (endorphins)
- Deep tissue massage to break an adhesions grip on your internal tissues
- Heat or cold applications to reduce swelling and inflammation
Once you’re responding to passive physical therapy, your physical therapist can introduce active physical therapy. They will prescribe exercises and targeted stretches for you that address both localized pain and referred pain problems.
For instance, a therapist may suggest gentle stretching exercises for you. These can loosen tight, painful muscles and increase mobility in arthritic joints, while core training exercises that correct your balance may relieve chronic strain or neurological symptoms in the body.
The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) states that non-pharmaceutical pain treatment is to be preferred over pharmaceuticals such as opioids ‒ and may do a better job of controlling pain conditions. That is certainly something to keep in mind the next time you opt for painkillers instead of going the longer, but the more efficient route of physical therapy.
The importance of treating the root cause of pain
Not all pain sources are hiding under a secret guise. The cause of acute pain may be clear enough, especially if it accompanies an auto accident injury, work injury, infection, operation, or another event. As the affected part of your body heals, the pain generally fades away.
Unfortunately, this is not necessarily the case with some forms of pain. Chronic pain may linger for months or years with no obvious cause in sight.
Chronic pain may be due to:
- Pain syndromes such as fibromyalgia, which may affect both nerves and muscles
- Extended disuse after a lengthy recovery period (such as frozen shoulder after many weeks with your arm in a sling)
- Areas of internal scar tissue buildup that restrict neighboring muscles and connective tissues (adhesions)
- Muscle weakness, knots, or spasms related to poor posture or an unbalanced body
- Degenerative joint conditions such as osteoarthritis, which produce chronic pain and inflammation
- Chronic overuse injuries such as tendinitis, plantar fasciitis, or carpal tunnel syndrome
All too often, the first course of action when it comes to pain is to turn to drugs early and often to alleviate pain problems. Unfortunately, this approach may turn out to be nothing more than a stopgap.
Although medication can cover up or “mute” the pain for a few hours, the underlying problem that’s causing the pain remains untreated. As long as that problem persists, so will your long-term pain problems.
Dealing with this can force a person to use more and more medication. This is especially for those with addictive personalities or individuals who are already on other medications.
The benefits of physical therapy over opioids
There are so many harmful side effects when it comes to opioids. Healthline states that the physical ones can include:
- Slower rate of breathing
If you are living with pain, you don’t need to turn to the pain-relieving effects of drugs. Physical therapy can help you find that same relief, at a long-term level. Are you ready to find relief from your pain? Our team of physical therapists can help.
As stated by the APTA website, “The White House has announced that APTA is among the organizations that have joined a public-private partnership to combat opioid usage and prescription drug abuse, and that the association will reach out to the public and its members to deliver the message that pain can be effectively managed through conservative, non-drug approaches. Physical therapists can help individuals manage pain, and greater use of physical therapy could make a real impact on the tragic levels of drug abuse in this country—abuse that often begins with a prescription for pain medication.”
Contact us today for safe, natural, and effective pain relief
Our physical therapists are ready to help you stop your pain at its source. You don’t need to turn to harmful drugs or accept their painful side effects when there is another option available to you. Call StepUp Physical Therapy today to schedule your appointment!