The over use of opioids (pain killers) has reached epidemic proportions. In many cases, the use of pain killers leads to addiction even after the pain has subsided. Chronic pain does not have to be a way of life. Chronic pain is defined as pain that lasts for several months, and in some cases, years. Hundreds of millions of Americans are impacted by chronic pain. Some suffer from depression because of that pain.
Comprehensive pain management typically involves more than one modality. The most common are:
- Physical Therapy
- Other alternative treatments
Physical therapy has the capability of easing discomfort while helping to increase mobility. A physical therapist will not only assist in improving daily movement, but will also help you understand where the pain is coming from and why. The purpose of physical therapy is to help you become stronger. Most patients are weaker from lack of movement (favoring the pain) which is counterproductive to healing. It’s understandable, if your knee hurts you don’t want to use it. It is by using it, under the guidance of a physical therapist, that you help it heal.
Physical therapy for pain management involves a variety of different methods including:
- Manual therapy
- Movement and exercise
- Manipulation of joints
- Tens unit / Ultrasound
- Hot and cold therapy
Opioids, which only mask pain, come with a host of risks. Side effects include everything from depression to addiction. The CDC states that “Opioids should not be considered routine therapy.” The CDC also states that there is “high-quality evidence” supporting exercise as part of a physical therapy treatment plan for those conditions. Before you agree to a prescription treatment, talk to a physical therapist about non-pharmaceutical options. Even over the counter pain killers like NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) come with health risks. Your body has natural pain-relieving chemicals, and by increasing movement you encourage the production of those chemicals.
Your Physical therapist partners with you, your family and your other doctors and health care professionals to manage your treatment. A physical therapist helps you to set realistic expectations for recovery with the goal being to decrease or eliminate pain without doing more damage to your body.