Physical therapy may not be seen as an alternative treatment for pain, especially by ordinary people that are not involved in sports or physical activities in their lives. However, the fact is that physical therapy is one of the most recognized and proven treatments that exist today. Athletes from all walks of life see a physical therapist every so often. In addition, elderly people with chronic pains also tend to be referred to a physical therapist.
The thing about physical therapy that many people misunderstand is that it isn’t just a bunch of random massages or a fixed kind of treatment that therapists employ for a wide range of problems. In fact, it is the exact opposite of that. Chronic aches and pains all arise from a certain underlying problem and it is the job of a physical therapist to help identify and correct it. These therapists adopt an evidence-guided treatment that differs depending on the different problems a patient encounters. Besides that, they administer custom strengthening and flexibility exercises for each individual that takes into account of one’s body mechanics and posture.
Of course, the magic of alleviating one’s pain does not occur only in the therapist’s office. Physical therapists often educate and encourage patients, helping them to manage and eventually overcome their aches and pains. Most therapists will prescribe a range of exercises for patients to do at home on their own while educating them at the same time about how the various areas, such as one’s central nervous system, brain, and muscles play a part in causing their daily aches and pains. Patients will then be advised to avoid certain activities or movement patterns, adding up to the eventual relief from their pain.
Some of the aches and pains that can be alleviated with physical therapy includes plantar fasciitis, impinged shoulders, tennis elbow, fractures, sprains and tendonitis. It would be good if you are able to find a physical therapist that specializes in a specific condition that you are encountering as not every therapist will be well-versed in a specific condition. Know that the alleviation of your pain and aches will not be immediate with physical therapy but would instead take some time over a span of weeks to months. Talk to your physical therapist in order to make sure both of you are on the same page about your recovery goals and speed. Before you know it, you’ll be well on your way to a pain-free life.