In today's world, pain is a significant issue. An estimated one out of every five Americans suffer from chronic pain, with 8% of those suffering from pain so severe that they cannot carry out their daily tasks. It's no surprise, then, that painkillers and anti-inflammatory medications have become a multibillion-dollar industry.
Unfortunately, these medications come with their own set of issues, ranging from addiction to dangerous effects on internal organs. Many people are looking for pain alleviation that doesn't come in the form of pills. If you're one of these people, you should be aware of physical therapy's incredible pain-relieving capabilities.
Why Avoid Painkillers?
Let's face it: pain pills and over-the-counter drugs have little effect on the healing of chronic pain.
While pain medications are sometimes advertised as the best answer for chronic pain, all they can do is provide a reprieve from the discomfort. The pain will return once the medication dose has worn off, and you may need to take larger and larger doses of pain medication to achieve the same amount of comfort.
A number of over-the-counter and prescription drugs claim to relieve pain and inflammation temporarily. For patients suffering from painful auto-immune illnesses, such as rheumatoid arthritis, steroids “relieve pain” by suppressing the immune system. However, the same immune-suppressing ability also renders the body more susceptible to infection.
Cataracts, glaucoma, hypertension, water retention, acne, excessive blood sugar, and osteoporosis have all been linked to long-term steroid use. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs) prevent the body from producing inflammatory molecules. These medications aren't always safe, either. In certain people, NSAIDs might cause gastrointestinal bleeding and renal damage. They've also been linked to an increased heart attack and stroke risk.
Opioid medications provide perhaps the most severe threat. These drugs can pose a serious danger to users. In 2017 alone, these potent drugs led to 70,000 fatal overdoses. Although some deaths may have been caused by recreational drug use, more than 60% of those who died were chronic pain sufferers.
Searching for All-Natural Pain Management? Physical Therapy is Your Way to Go
As a safe, effective, and all-natural pain management method, physical therapy provides a number of advantages. When creating a physical therapy plan for pain management, a physical therapist considers each individual's symptoms (and the underlying reasons for those symptoms). Your specific strategy may involve modalities like:
- Aerobic exercises to get the blood flowing and encourage joint lubrication
- Resistance training exercises to strengthen muscles, making physical actions less taxing
- Cold laser therapy and/or massage therapy to improve circulation, relax tissues, and reduce inflammation
- Deep stretching techniques will target the source of your pain, thereby helping to improve your range of motion and support the development of muscle mass in the area of your pain
- The combination of hot and cold therapy can help to reduce swelling and alleviate pain, and when used in combination with other natural strategies, can be a great source of relief from chronic pain
- Targeted massage to reduce tension in that particular area, thereby helping to alleviate pressure in your joints and reduce pain
- Electrical nerve stimulation to interrupt pain signals
- Chiropractic adjustment to help joints move more freely and correct painful musculoskeletal imbalances
Physical therapy appears to have yet another vital role to play in relieving pain patients of their symptoms. Some physical therapists use “brain-rewiring” techniques like graded motor imagery to assist patients in building a new perspective of their pain, allowing them to master and reduce their reactions to it. This type of physical therapy aims to give people better control over their pain to endure more exercise, which in turn lessens discomfort.
Physical therapy can help you feel better in more ways than one. This type of care can help you avoid the adverse effects of prescription drugs by providing non-pharmaceutical pain control strategies. Better yet, you're treating the fundamental reasons behind your pain rather than just masking it. Why settle for a false sense of comfort when you can get the real thing– while also improving your health and functionality?
Your health and happiness are our number one priority at Back In Motion Physical Therapy & Performance. It's time to get back to leading your life the way you want to, not the way your pain forces you to. We offer physical therapy in Cape Coral, Fort Myers, & Estero.
Our talented physical therapists are ready to create a pain management program just for you. Call us today for a consultation and get your life back!