What Is Considered Chronic Pain & How Do You Find Relief?
Pain in various parts of the body impacts a majority of adults at some point in their life. Back pain alone affects 50 to 80 percent of Americans. In most instances, pain resolves in a short period of time ranging from a few days to a few weeks. Chronic pain describes pain that lasts longer than three months and remains unresolved despite conservative treatments including rest, ice or heat applications, and pain relief medications. Physical therapy can help patients who suffer from physical pain and have not found relief through other avenues.
Physical Therapy Strengthens Muscles
One way in which physical therapy addresses chronic pain is by strengthening muscles. This is particularly effective with back pain. Stronger muscles better help hold up the structure of your back or other areas impacted by chronic pain. This better, stronger structure enables your core to better support your entire body. Strengthening your core enables peripheral muscles and structures to begin strengthening as well. This helps relieve stress on ligaments and tendons and bring relief to pinch points. Chronic pain relief results through this strengthening and impingement elimination.
Stretching and Flexibility Through PT
Another way PT relieves chronic pain is through stretching and flexibility exercises. Many instances of chronic pain result from stiffened muscles and support structures. Additionally, some chronic pain results when muscles, tendons and ligaments retract due to disuse or misuse. This shortens their structure and leaves little room for moving about pain-free. Physical therapy provides a variety of stretches and flexibility exercises that work to loosen stiffened structures and lengthen ligaments and tendons to properly move and support musculature and bones. Pain relief results when stretching and flexibility release tension and enable unrestricted movement.
Physical Therapy Helps Posture
Most adults develop poor posture over time due to less effort placed toward holding the body correctly, as well as physical changes that come with age. Poor posture is a leading cause of chronic pain. Physical therapy helps patients relearn practices that lead to good posture. Additionally, exercises and stretches learned in physical therapy help retrain the body to remain in the right form when at rest.
Exercise as Pain Relief
An additional way physical therapy helps with pain management is through the release of endorphins. Endorphins are neurotransmitters that work to dampen pain relief by sending electrical signals through the nervous system to disrupt pain signals. For chronic pain sufferers, exercise routines specifically designed by physical therapists can work not only to address on-site pain-causing abnormalities but also by triggering those endorphins to act as pain relievers. Therapists monitor patient exercise carefully to ensure maximum relief without overworking or overstressing impacted areas.
Physical therapy can address chronic pain more effectively than conservative or medicinal treatment. Additionally, PT can help patients avoid the necessity of surgery while also promoting healthy body practices. If you’re battling chronic pain, discuss physical therapy options with your physician or contact the therapists at Ferrell-Whited promptly so you can begin realizing relief as soon as possible.