How does Physiotherapy Help with Pain Management and Symptom Relief?
Physical therapy is often one of the best options you can take when you have long-term pain (also called chronic pain) or an injury, especially back pain. Physical therapy can help you move freely and feel fit.
A physical therapist can help you understand why you have joint, muscle, and soft tissue pain. Understanding pain will help you deal with it and overcome it. They will help you with physiotherapy for back pain and other issues.
If you are in severe pain, you should stay in bed with a hot water bottle, take paracetamol and do not move. Studies have shown that exercise is one of the best options for chronic pain.
Your physiotherapist will advise you and prescribe you a safe exercise programme according to your problem so that you keep moving.
Short-term pain acts as an alarm, telling us that something is wrong. While most small aches and pains are readily handled and quickly forgotten, others are a warning sign of something more serious that we should not dismiss.
Chronic pain is generally defined as pain that persists beyond the normal time it takes for tissues to heal after injury.
Most soft tissue injuries heal within weeks, although some may take several months to fully heal. When pain lasts longer than 3 to 6 months, pain specialists generally refer to it as “chronic” or persistent pain.
The causes of chronic pain are not always clear, but in some disorders, it is thought that the pain is due to pain signals being confused by nerve fibres. The brain is then unable to properly understand the signals.
Common Chronic musculoskeletal pain
• Chronic back and neck pain
• Rheumatoid arthritis
• Neuropathic pain (nerve pain)
How does physical therapy treat pain?
Physiotherapists are not only experts in the treatment of pain, but also in its origin. They will look for weak or stiff spots that could add stress to the painful areas. And they will treat these areas with specific exercises to reduce pain and help you move better.
In a physical therapy session, you can do a combination of the following:
Low-impact aerobic workout. These workouts get your heart rate up while being easy on your joints. For example, you can walk briskly or use a stationary bike to warm up instead of running before doing strength exercises.
You can use machines in your physical therapist’s office, resistance bands, or your body weight (think lunges, squats, and push-ups).
You can train your core muscles (stomach, buttocks, and back) as well as other parts of your body.
Exercises for pain relief
Walking, stretching and yoga are considered the best exercises for pain relief. These exercises target the areas where you have pain, allowing you to be stronger and more flexible, which should make your life easier.
Your physical therapist can provide exercises that you can do at home. These will be gentle, and your therapist will make sure you are warm and not overextended.
What else can I do?
The following are also used in physical sessions:
Heat and ice packs
Ice calms inflammation. The heat warms up the muscles, so they move better. Both can help with the pain.
Remember that a massage on injured or sore areas may not feel relaxing. But your therapist will make sure it’s safe and helpful for you. If you get one from someone other than them, tell them about your pain before the session begins.
TENS and Ultrasound
Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, or TENS, uses a device to send a low-voltage electrical current to the skin over the area where you have pain.
Ultrasound sends sound waves to painful areas. Both can provide relief by blocking pain messages from going to your brain.
Will it hurt?
Physical therapy shouldn’t hurt and will be safe. But because you’re using parts of your body that are injured or in chronic pain, physical therapy can be challenging, even difficult. For example, you may experience pain after a stretching or deep tissue massage.
But there is a reason for that. Your therapist will have a specific plan in mind based on your particular needs. just like physiotherapy for back pain.
Sometimes you have to train hard to get stronger. It will push you, but it will heal you fast and fulfil your need.
Each person may respond differently to therapy. Your body type, daily activities, alignment, and habits will all affect your plan.
Stick to the therapy and you will enjoy the benefits.