Chronic pain impacts every area of your life, and experts estimate that some 100 million Americans live with chronic pain. If you’re one of them, you may feel like you don’t have any options. With the current opioid addiction crisis, pharmaceutical options may be limited or simply not an approach you want to take.
Most experts recommend treating chronic pain on a highly individualized basis because chronic pain can come from a wide variety of causes. Your pain may be the result of an overuse injury, arthritis, a chronic disease, or some other underlying cause.
One thing that is beneficial for every person, regardless of their health status, is movement. Unfortunately, if you have chronic pain, your mobility may be limited, and the very idea of exercise may seem laughable. That’s where physical therapy can help.
Physical therapists start where you are
If you’re in so much pain that you can’t imagine being able to do physical therapy, you’ll be happy to learn that physical therapists start where you are. Depending on your situation, you may be more susceptible to injury than others, and our staff understands that and will begin therapy with movements that are safe for you to perform.
Often, patients with chronic pain need time to develop trust in their therapist, as well as a belief that physical therapy really can help. If you’ve tried other treatment approaches without success, it may take some time for you to really believe that physical therapy can help.
You’ll gain strength
With each session, you’ll gain strength. Regardless of the cause of your pain, strengthening your muscles and joints will protect you from injury, which could cause additional pain.
Along with strength, physical therapy will help you become more flexible. Flexibility improves mobility, which, in turn, decreases your risk of new injuries, as well as allows you to move with less pain.
Some of the exercises that you’ll do in physical therapy are passive -- you’ll simply relax and allow the therapist to move your body. Others are active and require your participation. All of them are designed to address your specific areas of weakness.
Physical therapy is more than exercise
The goal of physical therapy is to decrease your pain and increase your mobility, and part of that is achieved through exercise. But, there are other elements involved in physical therapy, as well.
For example, Dr. Mendoza may want you to have transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) as part of your physical therapy. TENS uses low-voltage electrical currents to stimulate your nerves and relieve your pain.
Other common elements of a physical therapy program include:
- Applying heat or cold
- Sensory re-education
- Manual therapies
Each of those modalities addresses specific problems, which is another of the benefits of physical therapy: Your therapy is designed specifically for you. Just as your therapist will begin where you are, with movements that are within your ability, your program will address your individual issues.
At Vulcan Pain Management, you won’t be treated like a person with chronic pain. Instead, Dr. Mendoza will create a custom plan to address your unique needs, and that level of individualized care continues throughout your physical therapy.
If you’re ready to learn how physical therapy can help you manage your chronic pain, book an appointment with Dr. Mendoza at Vulcan Pain Management online or by phone today.