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4 Ways Physical Therapists Manage Pain




The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend physical therapy as a safe and effective alternative to opioid and narcotic medication for the management of most non-cancer related pain.



The ways physical therapists manage pain:



1. Exercise


A Physical Therapist will prescribe exercises that improve your pain free movement and quality of life. In a study following 20,000 people over 11 years those who performed regular exercise experienced less pain.


Often we seen people who would like to participate in regular fitness who cant get started after a period of pain or injury. Initially, we start with pain relieving movements and strategies to allow healing to take place. Once feeling better, we can progress to regular fitness participation.



2. Manual Therapy





The evidence in effective physical therapy practice clearly supports the use of manual physical therapy such as spinal manipulation and joint mobilization in combination with therapeutic exercise. As McKenzie System trained clinicians our care often involves movement in a select direction to restore function and relieve pain.


With Fellowship training in manual physical therapy we often use spinal manipulation and manual hip, knee, ankle and shoulder joint mobilization to improve pain and movement quality.




3. Education


Educating patients on their condition and prevention of recurrent pain episodes is fundamental to physical therapy care. Rather than treat you with maintenance care for years, a physical therapist will teach you how to become independent of needing care through healing movement and self management. This may include evaluation for cognitive behavioral interventions, diaphragmatic breathing and graded movement participation in the management of chronic pain syndromes.



4. Partnership


Actively partnering with your physical therapist in support of your recovery is critical to success. Your physical therapist is able to directly work with you and assess how your pain responds to treatment. As a result, adjustments in your individual treatment plan are made each session based on your input and clinical responses.




The American Physical Therapy Association launched a national campaign to raise awareness about the risks of opioids and the safe alternative of physical therapy for long-term pain management. Learn more go to the APTA #ChoosePT page.










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