Chronic pain can occur for many reasons. It can range from annoying to disabling. Included in the many reasons for this condition can be changes or injuries to the spinal discs, arthritic conditions, tissue strains, joint misalignments, muscle injuries, nerve injuries, or sensitivities that may even be related to other conditions.
Trained physical therapists can offer many successful strategies for minimizing or even eliminating chronic pain. Following a detailed neuromusculoskeletal examination, the physical therapist will identify factors that may be contributing to the ongoing pain. Under the direction of a physical therapist, strategies for eliminating or minimizing the frequency or intensity of pain can be very effective for even those patients with a long history of suffering. Some strategies a physical therapist might employ include:
- Improving motion of stiff joints and stabilization training
- Restoring optimal joint alignment or movement
- Restoring optimal muscle balance around an injured or dysfunctional joint
- Traction or decompression of joints or tissues
- Retraining in movement patterns to prevent continued muscle or joint strain or adverse tissue friction
- Individualized exercise programs to promote circulatory or nutrient benefits to injured muscles, spinal discs, or joints
- Strengthening programs for lost or deficient strength
- Ergonomic consultation to reduce strain during work and leisure activities
- Body mechanics training or strengthening to prevent recurrent strain related to tissue, joint and muscle overuse or misuse
- Restoring lost physical abilities such as walking, squatting, balance, etc.
- Exercises to inhibit pain signals
- Educating patients in the use of hot, cold, or electrical stimulation to better manage pain for those who do not respond to restoring normal position or motion.