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Physical Therapy for Pain Relief | A Conservative Approach to Recovery

Physical Therapy for Pain Relief | A Conservative Approach to Recovery

Physical therapy, or PT, is both a healthcare profession and a system of rehabilitative techniques. Physical therapy is a conservative, non-drug approach to treating musculoskeletal problems and overcoming physical impairments or disabilities. Physical therapy is most concerned with:

  • Promoting mobility
  • Restoring functional ability
  • Reducing pain or discomfort
  • Improving quality of life

What’s Available?
Physical therapists use a great variety of treatments, or modalities, to address common health complaints. Some of the most frequently used treatment methods include:

  • Functional exercises
  • Stretching techniques
  • Ultrasound
  • Traction
  • Electrical stimulation and TENS
  • Joint mobilization
  • Light therapy
  • Soft tissue mobilization
  • Heat and ice
  • Hydrotherapy

Physical therapists may use any or all of these techniques to help you realize at least some degree of relief from your musculoskeletal problems. A successful physical therapy program can reduce your pain, restore your mobility, and help you avoid surgery and prescription medication.

How Does it Work?
Physical therapy typically involves a regimen of active (patient-performed) and passive (practitioner-performed) care over a set time (usually a few months). Physical therapists guide patients through exercises or apply other treatment modalities to:

  • Boost strength, fitness, and flexibility
  • Reduce muscle spasms
  • Improve circulation
  • Decrease swelling
  • Restore active range of motion

Physical therapy has proven helpful for older individuals hoping to restore balance and mobility, injured athletes looking to prevent further tissue damage, and individuals trying to recover physical stamina and function after joint, muscle, or bone surgery.

What are the Drawbacks or Limitations?
Physical therapy, though often helpful, has some significant drawbacks and limitations. The main problems with this treatment approach are:

  1. It may take many sessions for you to achieve your health goals.
  2. The recovery process is often long, and setbacks are common.
  3. Health gains can be slow in coming.
  4. Treatment sessions may be long and demanding.
  5. It may be difficult for your physical therapist to target the true underlying cause of your pain.
  6. Certain techniques can cause significant pain in some people.

MUA: An Alternative Solution
Manipulation under anesthesia (MUA) is a noninvasive and conservative approach that many patients use when physical therapy fails to produce the desired health outcome. MUA is an effective alternative solution to physical therapy and can even be used in its place. This potent healing technique involves manual medicine techniques—deep muscle stretching, joint mobilization and manipulation—delivered while you are lightly sedated. The beneficial health effects of MUA are felt either immediately or soon after a typical 3-day course of treatment. This gentle treatment technique is painless, causes rapid reductions in your pain levels, and addresses the root cause of your musculoskeletal problems.