Better Posture, Better Health.
What Types of Chronic Pains Require Physical Therapy?
What is chronic pain?
Chronic pain is usually defined as pain that persists beyond the normal time that tissues take to heal following an injury. Most soft tissue injuries heal up within weeks, although some can take several months to completely heal.
Physical therapists can help with these conditions by working with patients to develop individualized plans using a range of treatment techniques designed to restore function and mobility, reduce pain, and improve quality of life.
Physical therapy can be effective in treating these chronic pain conditions:
1. Chronic muscle pain, also known as myofascial pain syndrome, is a condition that affects the muscles and the sheath of the tissue that surrounds the muscles. If the muscle pain has been experienced for an extended period of time, it is likely to lead to chronic pain.
Chronic muscle pain can be caused by a variety of factors, including
- Poor posture, and overuse of muscles
- Over exercising, or usage of poor techniques leading to stress on muscles
- Performing work activities using poor techniques that can lead to repetitive stress injuries
- Anxiety and depression which can cause muscle tension, leading to significant myofascial pain
A physical therapist can help to determine the cause of your chronic muscle pain and develop a treatment plan to alleviate it.
2. Arthritis: It is an inflammation or swelling of one or more joints and there are many conditions that affect the joints, tissues around the joint, and other connective tissues. Arthritis pain can be relieved by being active physically, managing weight and protecting the joints. If the pain turns to be chronic, you should see the physical therapist and seek guidance.
A physical therapist can develop treatment to reduce pain and minimize joint damage including exercises to strengthen the muscles around the joint and improve flexibility and reduce the load on the joints.
3. Fibromyalgia is a condition that causes pain all over the body, sleep problems and often emotional distress as it is a chronic pain disorder that affects the muscles and soft tissues. Patients with fibromyalgia are likely to be more sensitive to pain than patients without fibromyalgia.
The cause of fibromyalgia is unknown, but it’s thought to be related to abnormal levels of certain chemicals in the brain and changes in the way the central nervous system processes pain messages carried around the body. However it can be effectively treated and managed with the help of a physical therapist.
Physical therapy can be an effective treatment for fibromyalgia to help relieve some of the symptoms and make the condition easier to live with. Treatments can be one or combinations of:
- Lifestyle changes, such as exercises and relaxation techniques
- Talking therapies, such as cognitive behavioral therapy and acceptance and commitment therapy
- Medicine, such as antidepressants