Whether it is due to an aging population, chronic health issues, trauma or weight gain, more people seem to be in pain. It doesn’t take much pain to affect the quality of your life or to prevent you from living the type of life you want to lead altogether. Sales of pain medication are always on the rise, but they often come with serious side effects. Many people who want a chemical alternative turn to physiotherapy to help reduce their pain. The end goal of physiotherapy is to improve a patient’s quality of life and allow them greater independence.
Reasons for PhysiotherapyPain and reduced mobility due to a variety of different conditions may land you in the physiotherapist’s office. Some of the more common reasons that a patient will seek physiotherapy include: Neck pain Back pain Headaches Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Sports injuries Osteoarthritis Repetitive strain injury Post surgery pain There are no rules as to who can or can’t see a physiotherapist, and the real list of conditions is much longer, but these make up many of the visits for pain.
A Holistic Approach One way that physiotherapy works to reduce pain is by following a holistic approach to treatment. This means that the physiotherapist takes all the different body systems into consideration when designing a treatment protocol. She looks at the body as a whole, rather than thinking only of the individual elements and factors of the illness or injury. Rather than looking solely at a symptom like back pain and treating the pain, she will examine all the various factors that may be contributing to the pain. Then, she will make suggestions regarding lifestyle changes and perform different treatments to tackle some of the underlying causes. Once the underlying causes are addressed, the pain will be reduced and will have a better chance of staying away.
Increasing Mobility Decreased mobility is a cause of pain in many different conditions, and the fact that physiotherapy aims to increase it is another way that it reduces pain. Therapeutic exercises, stretches, manual therapy and strengthening exercises all work to increase the overall mobility of the patient. The physiotherapist will also prescribe exercises that have been shown to work for the specific condition or injury to help strengthen the area and improve mobility even more.
Increasing Mobility Using the hands as part of manual therapy will help to improve circulation and help fluid drain more efficiently. Manual therapy may also help to relieve pain and improve mobility in some long-term musculoskeletal pain. Whatever the method, once the mobility of the patient improves and he is able to move around with greater ease, it’s a given that pain will lessen. You will be able to bend over at the waist or the knees easier, turn your head with ease or reach for things, depending on your injury.
Complimentary Techniques There are also some complimentary treatments and techniques that can work alongside physiotherapy to reduce pain. These include: TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation) – this treatment is delivered by a small machine through two electrodes that are placed on the affected area. An electric current is sent to the affected area and it gives a tingling sensation. This sensation can help to suppress or block the pain signals to your brain. Acupuncture – this is an ancient treatment where very fine needles are inserted into certain areas of the body to promote healing and reduce pain. Acupuncture is part of Traditional Chinese Medicine and it works on the premise of energy meridians and keeping energy flowing throughout the body. Ultrasound – ultrasound is often used to figure out if something is in there, but it’s also used to treat deep tissue injuries and reduce pain by stimulating blood flow. Hydrotherapy – this type of physio is done in water, and works to relax muscles, boost circulation and reduce pain.
Helping Yourself A big part of physiotherapy’s ability to reduce pain is due to the fact that it gets you to help yourself. The treatment doesn’t stop just because you are leaving the clinic or the office. Many physiotherapists will prescribe home stretching and strengthening exercises to speed up the process and provide a more thorough system of treatment. Sometimes, patients fall short on the home part of the treatment program because they can’t be bothered, but if you’re assigned some home work and you really want to eliminate your pain, so as your therapist says and you’ll be back to your old self that much sooner.