Though it’s probably not exactly true that the Egyptians have 50 words for sand and the Inuit have 100 words for snow, people do usually have a bunch of words for the things that matter to them. Think now how many words you know to describe pain: throbbing, stabbing, aching, and so on. As a culture you might say we are obsessed with pain, and we have a great big opioid epidemic to prove it. In a 2018 press release, the Centers for Disease Control reported a continuing rise in death rates from overdoses involving synthetic opioids.
But these kinds of drugs are not the only viable treatment for pain, and the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) is doing their part to promote a safer alternative—physical therapy. Every year the APTA spends the month of October, National Physical Therapy Month, raising awareness about their treatment approach. This year they are focusing on physical therapy as an effective and safe alternative to opioids for the treatment of pain. You can watch their public service announcement below:
The APTA is not alone in their recommendations; The Centers for Disease Control also recommend non-opioid approaches like physical therapy to manage pain.
So, what is physical therapy exactly?
The APTA says, “Physical therapists treat pain through movement, hands-on care, and patient education—no warning labels required.”
Physical therapists are highly educated movement specialists who focus on the biomechanical causes of pain. This includes looking at each patient for things like tight or weak muscles, immobile joints, and dysfunctional movement patterns. They then work with the patient to solve these issues using a combination of education, manual therapy techniques, modalities like heat, ice, and electrical stimulation, along with strength training and stretching.
Here are just a few of the many painful conditions that physical therapists treat:
- Ankle Sprains
- Knee pain
- Rotator cuff tear
- Frozen shoulder
- Groin pull
- Hamstring pull
- Tennis elbow
- Back & neck pain
Physical therapists also work closely with surgeons to help patients recover from knee, back, shoulder and other surgeries.
The team at our Sports Medicine clinic sees a variety of patients from young athletes to active seniors. If you would like to know more about the benefits of physical therapy and whether you might benefit from this treatment, contact our office for an appointment today.