A diverse field, pain management brings together a wide variety of medical professionals. These include doctors, nurse practitioners and psychologists. Physical therapists also play a critical role in managing pain. Counter-intuitively, physical therapy sessions can entail short-term pain that can be intense. Over time, however, physical therapy can lead to vastly reduced pain levels. By and large, physical therapists treat patients with kindness and understanding. At the same time, physical therapy can’t succeed unless therapists push their patients to the fullest reasonable extent. Without intensity and purpose, physical therapy regimens rarely lead to significant and lasting improvement. Fortunately, modern physical therapy is a discipline with an excellent track record of success.
Today, physical therapists are well-established in the medical mainstream. Still, there is work to be done in promoting the benefits of PT. Understanding is growing about how physical therapy can provide lasting relief instead of temporarily masking pain symptoms .
Physical therapy is often called for with spine-related injuries like sciatica and spinal stenosis. Besides relieving pain, physical therapy can speed up the healing process. By giving patients greater independence and mobility, physical therapy is a valuable part of many comprehensive pain treatment program that addresses both mind and body.
Highly skilled specialists, physical therapists work under the referral of licensed physicians. To practice physical, one must have proven education and ability. In addition, a good bedside manner is important in this field. Since the physical therapist must push the patient to achieve, each therapist must find a way to insist on results while maintaining trust and good will.
When engaging in pain reduction, physical therapy can be separated into two general categories: passive and active therapies. Passive therapies include the use of heat and ice packs and ultrasound. TENS is a form of electrical therapy that can stimulate nerves to provide short-term pain reduction. A TENS unit is a small, battery-powered device that sends low-voltage currents through electrodes. The therapist positions these electrodes near the source of pain and performs the therapy in a careful, controlled manner.
By electrically overloading the affected nerves, the TENS unit can disrupt or “scramble” the patient’s subjective perception of pain. TENS units are certainly useful for addressing pain of all kinds, include back pain. However, the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) advises that TENS may not prove effective for chronic pain in the lower back.
Active physical is more intense and can involve more transient pain for the patient. For patients willing to dedicate themselves to wellness, active therapies can produce good pain relief. Active PT techniques include stretching and exercises to improve patient strength and aerobic conditioning. All conditioning is low-intensity to reduce patient discomfort and ensure the continued success of the PT regimen.
Besides conducting hands-on therapy procedures, physical therapists play an important educational role. The therapist will work with the patient closely and come up with an individualized plan of action for reducing pain. This plan might include correcting bad habits, poor alignments and unhealthy moving patterns. PT is particularly important following spine surgery or other surgical procedures. Each year, new developments highlight the importance of PT in reducing pain. Unsurprisingly, sports injury specialists are always on the forefront of developing PT in new directions. Since sports players push their bodies to the limit, it takes dedication and skill to provide players with pain-free lives. As PT experts continue to improve their techniques, they should provide continual improvements for all types of people who suffer from pain, chronic or otherwise.