Addressing chronic pain is not only a problem for health care professionals, but it’s also a big issue for policymakers in the US. Over millions of people suffer from chronic pain each year in the US, which not only affect their ability to perform the activities of daily living but also reduces their focus and increase stress and anxiety level.
Chronic pain can stem from various factors such as traumatic injury, poor posture, degenerative changes, and overweight. Apart from that, conditions such as stomach ulcers, spinal tumors, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis, etc., can also lead to chronic pain.
According to Wise Physical Therapy, “Typically, when the body has healed, the pain will subside, and things should return to normal. However, in some cases, the brain can continue to send out pain signals long after the illness or injury is gone. If you have pain that lasts from 3 to 6 months or more, you could be dealing with chronic pain.”
Americans spend billions of dollars each year to address this problem. However, even if they spend a lot of money on surgeries or medications to treat their problem, but they don’t always succeed in addressing its root cause. And the worst part is that these treatment approaches can have both long-term and short-term side effects. Therefore, it’s better to rely on a treatment that strengthens the natural healing mechanism of your body.
When compared to other health conditions, the cases of chronic pain are more common among people above 65.
According to NCBI, “Chronic pain is one of the most common conditions encountered by healthcare professionals, particularly among older (≥65 years) patients.” It further says, “Chronic pain poses a significant economic burden on society.”
Factors such as sleep impairment, reduced mobility, and fall, etc., can lead to problems that can cause chronic pain among older adults. For example, falls can lead to severe injuries that can result in pain that lasts more than three months.
Whether you are suffering from chronic pain that’s caused by a sports injury or a condition like osteoarthritis, physical therapy is the best way to manage it.
It not only helps in relieving the pain but also plays a vital role in improving one’s quality of life.
Techniques that physical therapists use to manage chronic pain
Manual therapy is one of the most common techniques for relieving the chronic pain that stems from conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. It’s a non-invasive treatment technique that is not only used by massage therapists and athletic trainers, but it’s equally common among physical therapists.
Manual therapy techniques like joint mobilization and soft tissue mobilization are tremendously helpful for improving muscle and joint health.
The best part of relying on a physical therapist is that they perform a full evaluation of your body before designing a care plan to identify the root cause of your pain.
And based on the primary source of your pain, your therapist will choose an ideal manual therapy technique to address it.
To offer quick relief from pain, your therapist will pick a method that will increase your blood flow, minimize pain, and enhance your flexibility to restore the full range of motion.
Manual therapy is ideal for people of all ages, so whether you are a teen, an adult in their 30s or a senior above 65, you can seek manual therapy to manage chronic pain.
Whether you are experiencing chronic pain in your neck, back, shoulder, hips or knees, therapeutic exercise can bring a significant improvement in your health shortly.
Besides, if you had a surgery or are suffering from a chronic illness for years now, performing therapeutic exercises under the guidance of a well-known therapist can reduce your pain quite fast.
Your therapist will examine your overall fitness apart from evaluating the affected part before creating an exercise program for you.
The exercises that your therapist will incorporate in your care plan will not only focus on relieving your pain but will restore your strength, endurance, flexibility.
If your injury is extremely severe and you feel that you won’t be able to live a normal life again, then you are wrong. You can bring a world of difference in your overall health and well-being by sticking to therapeutic exercise.
Your therapist will design an exercise program that will leave you feeling stronger. They will include exercises that will not only restore your strength and endurance but will also improve your balance and coordination.
Physical therapists also use Kinesio Taping to reduce chronic pain and to help people perform their daily activities with ease. Whether you are a pregnant woman, a professional athlete or a gym-goer, if you are experiencing pain in your shoulder, neck, or knee, Kinesio taping is the perfect way to relieve your pain and support the affected muscles and joints.
Your therapist will apply a therapeutic tape in the affected area, which will be activated by body heat.
Apart from the above techniques, your therapist may also use trigger point therapy, sports physical therapy, and myofascial release to minimize pain and accelerate the health process.