If you have been suffering from chronic pain (defined as persistent pain lasting longer than three months), you are not alone. In fact, the American Academy of Pain Medicine states that there are at least 100 million Americans are living with chronic pain. Because such a large amount of the country lives with chronic pain, the demand for prescription pain medications keeps rising. In 2013 alone, physicians prescribed nearly a quarter of a billion opioid prescriptions – which, when calculated against the population, equates to approximately one bottle per person living in America.
The increasing demand for prescription pain meds is what has led us to the opioid crisis we face today. Opioids contain dangerous and addictive chemicals that many people have unfortunately fallen victim to. In just the past few years, there have been countless abuse and overdose cases regarding these drugs.
As a response to this public health epidemic, many people have been searching for safer pain relief strategies – such as physical therapy. Physical therapy has proven to be a safe, successful, and risk-free treatment method for chronic pain. Whether your pain is acute or chronic, a physical therapist can help you get back to your normal life through natural and non-invasive treatments, without the need for harmful drugs.
Relieving pain with physical therapy:
Physical therapists are movement experts, skilled in the fields of pain and dysfunction. At our practice, our physical therapists are equipped with the necessary skills for applying passive and active therapy treatments, aimed at relieving pain and improving function. This is done in several ways, including:
1. Implementing services that pose little-to-no risk of side effects.
Some common treatments that physical therapists provide include joint mobilization, ultrasound, massage, diathermy, and electrical nerve stimulation. These are all natural treatments that have a very low risk of side effects, especially when compared to other methods of pain relief, such as medication or surgical intervention.
2. Enhancing physical activity.
Physical therapy treatments are a great way for patients to remain engaged in their pain-management process. Sessions tend to last anywhere from 30-60 minutes, and patients work closely with their physical therapists to meet physical goals. Overall, physical therapy is the only treatment method that incorporates active, natural, and pain-free practices. The methods of physical therapy treatments allow for long-lasting effects, as opposed to other short-term solutions.
3. Providing scientifically supported services and techniques.
Rigorous study and strong research are just two of the many ways that the successes of physical therapy have been proven. These studies have provided credible evidence toward physical therapy treatments, illustrating how they can significantly reduce a vast number of pain-related conditions. The implementation of care backed by scientific research allows physical therapists to greatly improve their patient outcomes.
4. Determining where the pain is originating.
Part of the reason why physical therapy is so successful is because it gets to the base of the problem in order to alleviate pain completely, rather than just masking the issue. While medication can simply be popped into your mouth, the effects are short-lived – many only lasting as little as 12-24 hours. Essentially, it masks the pain but doesn’t fix the problem.
However, physical therapy can fix the problem. At your initial appointment, your physical therapist will conduct a thorough evaluation in order to determine where the pain is stemming from and what the best course of treatment will be. Physical therapy gets to the root of the problem in order to provide long-term relief, whereas medication only works in the short-term.
5. Designing individualized exercise programs for patients.
In addition to your passive treatments, your physical therapist will create an active exercise plan for you that is specifically tailored to your recovery process. Physical activity can help in reducing your pain significantly, in addition to promoting healing, improving range of motion, reducing swelling, and increasing overall strength and endurance.
If you or a loved one are currently dealing with pain, contact our Richmond office today. We would be happy to schedule a consultation with one of our physical therapists to discuss how they can help you get back to a normal, active, and pain-free life!