A physical therapist who specializes in pain management and rehabilitation can develop a specialized exercise regimen that focuses on the sources of pain and helps build up the muscles and improves function. Therapy may also include therapeutic massage and the use of heat therapy and the sauna.
Physical therapists are specially trained health professionals who understand how to treat pain and its source. The goal of physical therapy for pain management is building strength and loosen stiff joints and muscles to reduce inflammation and pain.
Physical therapy typically consists of a combination of exercises that target the specific part or parts of the body that are experiencing chronic pain, either from an injury or medical condition. This may include:
- Strengthening exercises using weight machines, resistance training, or your own body weight to build up core muscle groups.
- Cardio training, which can include low impact aerobics.
- Pain relief exercises that target problem areas to build strength and flexibility, which can relieve pain.
- Stretching, which is a critical component of physical therapy that helps lengthen muscles that may be tight and stiff, which can contribute to pain.
- Hot and cold therapy, which involves using ice to calm inflammation and heat to warm muscles for better movement.
- Massage can help relieve muscle tension that leads to pain in the back and neck, in particular.
- TENS, also known as transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation uses slight electrical current over the area of the body where there is pain.
Based on your age, medical condition, pain location, and cause of pain, a physical therapist will design a personalized treatment plan.