By JESSE KNIGHT MD
AND STEVEN LAUER NP
Millions of people wake up in pain every day. Some major culprits include backache, arthritis, and chronic pain in the knees or shoulders. Pain can stem from illness; inactivity; injury; or repetitive movements, such as typing.
Easing chronic pain often starts with medicine and therapy. If you suffer from chronic pain, the first stop should be your doctor’s office. Your physician may refer you to a physical therapist (PT). PTs use a hands-on approach to help relieve pain.
During Your Therapy Visit
During the first session, the PT will ask you to describe your pain. He or she will test your strength and ability to move by gently guiding you through different movements, offering resistance, and noting when pain happens. Your PT will then develop a treatment plan to:
- Reduce pain
- Ease movement
- Restore function
- Prevent future problems
- Later sessions may include exercises, massage, and posture training. Depending on your problem, you also may receive various pain-relieving measures, such as:
- Splints or other devices to support a sore joint
- Heat and ice
Beyond the Therapy Sessions
PTs usually advise gentle stretching and strengthening exercises to keep you moving and speed your recovery. You’ll also learn pain-free ways to do things, such as lifting with your legs and hips instead of with your back and neck. As your pain subsides, your PT will help you plan a healthier lifestyle.
Help is Available
Start by calling your primary care physician or orthopaedic surgeon Dr. Culley Christensen at 505-661-9118 for a consultation. He can help you decide the right path to recovery and refer you to physical therapy.