When to Choose Physical Therapy for Pain Management


Although the thought of doing any sort of physical activity when you have chronic pain may sound like punishment, it may truly be one of the most effective options for management of chronic pain.

Physical therapy is commonly used to ease causes of chronic pain, including: rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, chronic headaches, fibromyalgia, or neuropathic pain. One of the objectives of physical therapy is to increase the strength of chronic pain patients. Many chronic pain patients avoid movement, and thus lose muscle tone; therefore physical therapy can show people how to move carefully and meaningfully.

Physical therapy can refer to a wide variety of pain management techniques, including:

  • Exercises and movement therapy
  • Massage
  • Chiropractic treatment
  • Microcurrent stimulation
  • Cold laser therapy

It is important to note that within each category, there are many options to try in terms of treatment. For example, exercises and movement therapy can refer to simple stretches, or can refer to aquatic exercises or walking on a treadmill. Exercising for at least 30 minutes per day several times a week will increase your flexibility, joint stability, endurance, and muscle strength. These positive benefits will work to diminish your chronic pain. Importantly, physical therapy will work to combat stiffness, inflammation, and soreness, while simultaneously fostering the production of natural pain-relieving chemicals in the body.

Sometimes, physical therapy methods will cause other temporary pain if you haven’t exercised in a while. When this happens, many people may opt to get back into bed and take pain medication. While pain medications may intermittently decrease the feeling of pain by disrupting pain signals to the brain, physical therapy will enhance your mobility and quality of life for long-term relief.