For those of you who don’t know, October is the month for recognizing physical therapy as a profession and for celebrating the dedicated physical therapists who invest so much of their time and effort on the recovery and wellbeing of their patients. (Related topic: shoulder impingement physical therapy)
The American Physical Therapy Association has established the #ChoosePT campaign for Physical Therapy Month 2018 in the hopes that it will raise awareness around the opioid epidemic and how the Physical Therapy is the safest alternative when it comes to managing pain. In fact, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends physical therapy as the safest and most effective way to deal with non-cancer related pain, which represents a healthier alternative to opioids.
Some of the many tools used by physical therapists to manage pain include:
Exercise: A study following 20,000 people over 11 years showed how those who exercised on a regular basis experienced less pain. Further, on those who exercised more than 3 times per week, the chronic widespread pain was 28% less common but, more importantly, depending on your injury or your specific needs, physical therapists can prescribe exercise that specifically targets those needs.
Manual Therapy: From carpal tunnel syndrome to low back pain, the most recent studies recommend a hands-on approach to treating pain, which can effectively reduce pain and improve movement at the same time. Physical therapists may use manipulation, joint and soft tissue mobilizations, and dry needling, as well as other strategies that will have a beneficial effect on your health.
Education: A research amongst military personnel demonstrated that people with back pain who had received a 45-minute educational session about pain, were more likely to seek treatment in comparison to their peers who didn’t receive education about pain. During these sessions, physical therapists will talk with the patients to make sure they understand their individual pain history and help set realistic expectations about the treatment.
Teamwork: Thanks to recent studies it’s been demonstrated that developing a positive relationship between physical therapist and patient, and actively participating in your own recovery process can have a massive impact on your recovery success. This is likely because physical therapists are able to directly work with you and assess how your pain responds to treatment.