How PT Can Relieve Chronic Pain and Improve Your Wellbeing

Millions of people live with chronic pain every day. Many of them have decided, “This is my life now,” or are too afraid to find out why they’re experiencing pain. But you don’t have to do that! I’m Lauren Masi, Doctor of Physical Therapy and Board-certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist. I’m also the owner and Clinical Services Director of Bay Area Physical Therapy and Lafayette Physical Therapy. Today, we’re going to talk about how physical therapy can relieve chronic pain and improve your wellbeing.

What Exactly Is Pain?

First of all, you should realize that pain is just a signal to your brain telling you that something’s happening that needs to be addressed. The perception of pain is very person specific, but when it happens, your brain has to figure out what is safe or what is unsafe. 
And a lot of times, people might be afraid of what that information means. They don’t know if what they’re doing or what they’re feeling is detrimental to their healing or if it could be helpful. That whole “no pain, no gain” slogan can depend on the type of pain, where you’re feeling it, and what’s causing it.

Fear of Pain Can Lead to Fear of Finding Out What’s Causing It

A lot of times, people might be afraid to seek help for pain because they don’t know if it’s a poor reflection on them for something that they might’ve done wrong. They might be worried they’ll be told that they have poor posture, or that their strength training program isn’t appropriate, and they’ll feel bad. 
Or they might be afraid of finding out that something is seriously wrong. But more often than not, it’s not a huge, terrible medical issue! And physical therapists are here to help.

Fear of Pain Can Cause You to Guard or Change the Way You Move

If you’ve had an injury or you’ve been feeling pain for a long time, you might be fearful because you want to prevent that injury from recurring. Or you may just be scared of that feeling, and so you start changing the way that you move. 

These are totally normal reactions, but they can lead to muscle imbalances, weakness, tightness, and bad habits that can have a negative impact on your future. Changing the way you move to compensate for pain can affect your ability to return to your prior level of function and potentially the athletic endeavors that you seek to return to.

Physical Therapists Are Here to Help You Get Out of Pain and Fear

We want to get you back on the right track as soon as possible, but that will include doing a full assessment of the root cause of your pain. Let your physical therapist be your partner in recovery, and we can help you, give you that peace of mind that what you’re doing isn’t wrong and that everything is possible. 

Physical therapists can and will help you address these chronic pains in your body with a variety of treatments. We can help set you up with stretches and exercises to strengthen, massages as needed or soft tissue manipulation, joint mobilizations, and modalities like machines that can help control your pain as we are accomplishing these other things.

For example, I have patients all the time who tell me that they’d love to stretch, or they’d love to do strengthening exercises, but it just hurts too much. The pain stops them from even trying. And some of the modalities that we use can help control your pain, to then allow you to try to do these other things that are going to actually make you better.

Our Class IV Laser Can Help Alleviate Pain

One of the treatments that we are lucky enough to have here at Lafayette Physical Therapy and Bay Area Physical Therapy is the Class IV laser. It helps control pain; and oftentimes, we use that as an adjunct to physical therapy to get you doing those other activities to make the lasting changes we need.

Don’t Ignore Pain or Limited Mobility—Take Action

If you start to notice a change in your body, whether that’s decreased mobility or your activity level starting to decrease, or a nagging pain that isn’t going away or is worsening, stop and ask yourself why this might be happening, and challenge yourself to get back on track as quickly as possible. 

  • Are you just choosing to be more sedentary? 
  • Is your posture just being lazy? 
  • Have you dropped out of the gym and you just need to get going again? 

If you can address the root cause, that is your first step towards recovery. And if you need help to do so, please reach out to our front desk at (925) 284-3840 to set up a complimentary consultation or an evaluation as soon as possible.

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