Chronic pain refers to painful sensations that persist for more than three months even after healing of initial injury or illness. This kind of pain can be extremely debilitating, affecting an individual’s ability to work, sleep and participate in their favorite activities.
The good news is that chronic pain can be managed through various approaches and techniques. A doctor of physical therapy (DPT) plays a crucial role in the management of chronic pain. They are physical therapists with a clinical doctorate in physical therapy. They use various approaches to help control chronic pain and improve the function and overall quality of life of patients.
In this article, we will talk about techniques that DPTs use to improve the quality of life of patients suffering from chronic pain.
The first step in managing chronic pain is identifying the cause. A DPT will conduct a thorough assessment during which they assess the patient’s pain history and physical condition. They also assess functional limitations through a series of tests and measurements called functional capacity evaluations.
Chronic Pain Management Plan
Based on the initial assessment, the DPT will develop a customized treatment plan to address the underlying cause of your chronic pain. This may include:
Doctors of Physical Therapy may use various therapeutic modalities, such as
- Heat therapy
- Cold therapy
- Electrical stimulation therapy
- Laser therapy
These modalities provide lasting pain relief, promote tissue healing, and improve the overall quality of life of the patient.
A chronic pain management plan developed by a physical therapist frequently includes therapeutic exercises. These exercises can help:
- Increase strength
- Improve balance
- Improve joint range of motion
- Increase aerobic capacity
- Improve posture and physical functioning
- Enhance overall well-being
People with chronic pain often feel a sense of helplessness and personal fragility. Fitness resulting from therapeutic exercises acts as an antidote to these negative feelings. Therapeutic exercises can also reduce anxiety and depression resulting from uncontrolled chronic pain.
Manual therapies refer to a set of hands-on techniques performed by physical therapists. These techniques address musculoskeletal and neuromuscular causes of chronic pain.
Manual therapy includes the skilled application of gentle pressure, stretching, manipulation and tissue mobilization. This improves mobility, promotes tissue healing, and alleviates pain.
Common types of manual therapy include
- Joint mobilization
- Soft tissue mobilization
- Trigger point therapy
- Spinal manipulation
- Manual traction
- Joint manipulation
- Deep tissue massage
- Craniosacral therapy
A physical therapist can also work with patients to identify the lifestyle factors that may be contributing to their chronic pain. These factors include ergonomics, posture, or unhealthy lifestyle habits.
A doctor of physical therapy may also recommend lifestyle modifications, such as
- Healthy diet
- Weight management
- Stress management
- Good sleep hygiene
- Proper hydration
These modifications can improve the function and quality of life in individuals dealing with chronic pain.
Patient education is a fundamental aspect of chronic pain management. Physical therapists educate patients about their pain, its underlying cause, and strategies they can use to improve their quality of life.
Doctors of physical therapy empower patients to take an active role in their pain management plan. They may advise patients to set realistic expectations of the treatment process and outcomes. Additionally, they may tell you to keep a pain journal to track your pain levels, triggers, activities, and responses to the treatment.
Doctor of Physical Therapy Saint Augustine, FL
At H2 Health, our team of highly trained and compassionate physical therapists is committed to providing a comprehensive range of treatment modalities for the management of chronic pain and its underlying cause. Our therapists are committed to helping patients optimize their health, independence, movement, and day-to-day function.
If you wish to explore more about the services our physical therapists offer or to make an appointment with one of our physical therapists, contact our staff today by calling (800) 699-9395 or filling out our appointment request form online now.