It can be tempting for those suffering from chronic pain to want to curl up in a ball and do as little as possible, but in many cases, this can be a big mistake.  Targeted exercises, stretching, massage therapy, and other forms of passive physical therapy can all be used to actually improve patients’ pain.  Immobility, on the other hand, will only lead to reduced strength and further difficulties.

Conditions Treated

There are a number of chronic pain conditions that can impact patients’ mobility, making it difficult for them to remain in good physical shape.  Joint issues such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, nerve problems such as fibromyalgia, and even chronic headaches have all been shown to improve with adequate exercise.  Massage therapy can also be used, often in conjunction with physical therapy, to treat these and other disorders, including mixed chronic pain conditions.

Understanding Physical Therapy for Pain Relief

Just 30 minutes a day of exercise can help patients restore their mobility and take back their lives from chronic pain.  The right exercises will help them strengthen their muscles, increase their endurance, and improve their flexibility and endurance.  It will also help these patients avoid further disability.

When patients struggling with chronic pain begin a new exercise regime, it will help them reduce the inflammation, soreness, and stiffness that often accompany their conditions.  Restoring mobility isn’t the only way that adequate exercise can help, though.  Exercise also helps the body heal by encouraging the production of natural endorphins and pain-relieving chemicals.

Understanding Massage Therapy for Pain Relief

Massage therapy is actually one of the earliest-developed therapeutic tools for relieving pain, especially those forms of pain caused by musculoskeletal injuries and disorders.  A well-administered massage can help to increase the flow of blood to muscles, strengthen the immune system, and produce local biochemical changes that can affect pain perception.  This is accomplished through the use of deep tissue massage to release tension in the patient’s soft tissues.

Understanding Other Passive Physical Therapy Treatments

Massage therapy and the development of targeted exercise routines are only two of the treatment modalities used by physical therapists to treat chronic pain.  Heat therapy can increase the blood flow to target areas, allowing the oxygen and nutrients the body needs to heal to get through, while cold therapy reduces inflammation and pain by slowing circulation to them.  Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation uses electrical currents to stimulate muscles and increase endorphins, which can reduce pain.  Ultrasound therapy has been proven to increase blood circulation, helping to reduce swelling, stiffness, and pain in muscle tissues.

Developing a Treatment Plan

The majority of the exercises suggested for chronic pain treatment are low-impact and designed to target the affected area while simultaneously ensuring that patients do not suffer further injuries.  Many of these targeted exercises are designed to mimic normal daily tasks in order to strengthen the muscles required to perform them and to help patients understand how they can do so without injury.  Every treatment plan will be different, but many involve stretches designed to reduce joint strain, core strengthening exercises to improve overall strength and balance, and walking to increase the production of endorphins and support overall health.

It’s important for patients to realize that their treatment does not stop when they leave the clinic.  The stretching and exercise routines their physical therapists have developed must be repeated at home at least three or four times a week if they are to be effective.

Developing a Multidisciplinary Treatment Plan

Massage therapy is not intended to be used as an exclusive means of treating chronic pain, though there are patients who have achieved adequate levels of relief through the combination of massage therapy and appropriate exercises alone.  Patients’ best chances of successfully managing their pain so that they can restore normal function and return to their lives lie in establishing a multidisciplinary treatment plan that combines physical therapy with medical interventions and other complementary treatments.  That’s why it’s important to find a pain Therapy Institute whose doctors, physical therapists, and other medical professionals can work together as a team to offer the most comprehensive possible care.


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