Physical therapy can improve strength and balance, help stabilize joints, and reduce many types of chronic pain. Physical therapy can also rehabilitate your body after surgery or injury.
Chronic pain can lead many people to give up on physical activity and become increasingly sedentary. However, muscle and joint weakness result in more pain and damage, and a sedentary lifestyle contributes to the development of other conditions such as osteoporosis and diabetes.
What does it involve?
Even a few sessions with a physical therapist may teach you strategies to reduce pain and improve physical function. At your first visit with a physical therapist, they will carefully assess your condition and interview you about your medical history. The therapist may test your strength or range of motion. They will help you prioritize which problems you want to work on during sessions. A good therapist will encourage you to challenge yourself while respecting your comfort levels.
Your physical therapist will teach you different exercises you can do on your own at home. Which exercises you do with your therapist will depend entirely on your condition and your goals. Exercises may include stretching, strengthening, and conditioning movements.
It is important not to become discouraged early on in therapy. Focus on slow, gradual progress toward goals.
The three main goals of physical therapy are to ease pain, prevent disability, and improve function. The effectiveness of physical therapy in treating chronic pain depends on many factors.
Most types of insurance will only pay for a limited number of physical therapy appointments.
Chronic pain and stiffness can make it difficult to stay motivated to keep up with physical therapy exercises.
Depending on where you live, it may be hard to travel to physical therapy visits.