Looking for a Drug-Free Pain Solution? Look Into Physical Therapy
Pain can be a helpful messenger, an alert that something in your body needs fixing ‒ but it can also be an agonizing annoyance that ruins your quality of life. To make matters worse, many pain problems are rooted in deep-set underlying conditions, often originating in a different part of the body than the part exhibiting symptoms. Medication may mask your pain temporarily, but it isn’t going to solve a chronic underlying functional problem. For a more meaningful pain solution, take advantage of the drug-free options Nestor Physical Therapy offers at our North Smithfield, RI physical therapy center.
The Origins of Pain Problems
The cause of acute pain may be clear enough, especially if it accompanies an auto accident injury, work injury, infection, operation or other event. As the affected part of your body heals, the pain generally fades away. But this is not necessarily the case with some forms of pain. Chronic pain may linger for months or years with no obvious cause in sight. This pain may be due to:
- Areas of internal scar tissue buildup that restrict neighboring muscles and connective tissues (adhesions)
- Extended disuse after a lengthy recovery period (such as frozen shoulder after many weeks with your arm in a sling)
- Degenerative joint conditions such as osteoarthritis, which produce chronic pain and inflammation
- Muscle weakness, knots or spasms related to poor posture or an unbalanced body
- Chronic pain syndromes such as fibromyalgia, which may affect both nerves and muscles
- Chronic overuse injuries such as tendinitis, plantar fasciitis or carpal tunnel syndrome
Modern medicine tends to turn to drugs early and often in an effort to alleviate pain problems. Unfortunately, this approach may turn out to be nothing more than a stopgap. The drugs may mute the pain for a few hours, but the underlying problem that’s causing the pain remains untreated. As long as that problem persists, so will your long-term pain problems. This may force you to use more and more medication ‒ a troubling proposition, especially for addictive personalities or individuals who are already on other medications.
Natural Treatment From Our Physical Therapist
Our physical therapists can succeed where painkilling drugs fail. Once we understand the actual origin point of your pain, we can prescribe a physical therapy regimen aimed at correcting (or at least reducing) that functional abnormality. Our physical therapists may start by addressing your immediate discomfort with passive physical therapy techniques. These natural treatment techniques can include any combination of:
- Deep tissue massage to break an adhesions grip on your internal tissues
- Ultrasound therapy, in which sound waves enhance blood flow and relax tight muscle fibers
- Heat or cold applications to reduce swelling and inflammation
- Electrical muscle stimulation, which uses tiny amounts of current to stimulate your body’s natural painkillers (endorphins)
Once you’re responding to passive physical therapy, we can introduce active physical therapy. Our physical therapists can prescribe exercises that address both localized pain and referred pain problems. For instance, gentle stretching exercises from our physical therapists can loosen tight, painful muscles and increase mobility in arthritic joints, while core training exercises that correct your balance may relieve chronic strain or neurological symptoms in the body.
How effective is physical therapy as a drug-free natural pain solution? The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) states that non-pharmaceutical pain treatment is to be preferred over pharmaceuticals such as opioids ‒ and may actually do a better job of controlling pain conditions.