How Physical Therapy Assists with Pain Management

Physical Rehabilitation, Sports Medicine, Physical Therapy


Physical therapy offers many benefits. Among them is a significant reduction in pain.

Everyone experiences pain at some point in their lives. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 50 million adults in the U.S. suffer from chronic pain, or pain lasting more than three months.

Long-term pain can be due to a degenerative condition, such as arthritis. But it can also result from an acute injury that damages the muscles or bones. Chronic pain makes doing everyday tasks nearly impossible and greatly degrades the quality of life for the person dealing with it. No matter the cause, you’ll want pain relief as quickly as possible if you suffer from chronic pain. One way to get relief is through physical therapy, and more and more patients are turning to physical therapy for pain management.

4 Ways physical therapy assists with pain management

If you’re experiencing acute or chronic pain, your doctor will perform a physical exam to assess the source and intensity of the discomfort. Questions you may be asked include where the pain radiates from and how long have you felt it. Imaging tests may also be performed.

Next, you’ll visit a physical therapist, who will again review your condition. From that assessment, the physical therapist will develop a treatment plan just for you. As you go through the program, you’ll soon realize how beneficial physical therapy can be in managing your pain. Here are four reasons why:

Physical therapy treats the source of the pain. The first step is finding out why you’re feeling pain. Is your pain because of an injury? Weak muscles? Is poor posture the reason you’re experiencing pain? A physical therapist uses their knowledge to pinpoint the source of the pain and devise ways to reduce the discomfort with a tailored exercise program.

Physical therapy reduces the need for opioids. Although opioids can be effective in reducing pain, their use can be addictive and dangerous. Therefore, it’s better to avoid using them when possible. Instead of taking opioids, try physical therapy. One study from Stanford University and Duke University found that people who underwent physical therapy soon after being diagnosed with shoulder, neck, low back, or knee pain were 7-16% less likely to take opioids. Another reason to not take opioids is that such medications only mask the pain rather than treating its source. While opioids provide immediate, short-term pain relief, physical therapy is a better bet for long-term pain management.

Physical therapy takes a holistic approach. Pain is more than just a physical sensation, there is a psychological component, as well. In addition to an injury or damaged tissue, your pain may be related to harmful feelings such as fear, stress, and depression. Your physical therapist can help you deal with those negative emotions to overcome the pain.

Physical therapy uses a variety of techniques. Physical therapy isn’t a one-size-fits-all proposition. Your physical therapist will create a plan for your specific condition and needs. To do that, the physical therapist has a variety of tools at their disposal, ranging from passive to active techniques. Passive or manual therapy methods include massages, electrical stimulation to block pain signals to the brain, and hot/cold therapy to unlock stiff muscles and joints to improve range of motion. Active therapy trains the patient to perform certain exercises to strengthen muscles, enhance flexibility, and boost mobility. Your physical therapist will also help you find ways to perform everyday tasks so you don’t stress your body and cause more pain. The physical therapist will recommend at-home exercises, too.

Although the thought of undergoing physical therapy while you’re experiencing pain may be daunting, your physical therapist will take care to not cause any increase in pain and to take you along gradually. Physical therapy will reduce your pain if you stick with it.

Stop the pain now!

At All Sports Physical Therapy, we’re experts in pain management. We’ll accurately diagnose your condition and devise a customized treatment plan to alleviate your pain. Our physical therapists have helped hundreds of patients live active, pain-free lives. To see if you can benefit from our services, contact us today.

Prefer to speak with someone right away?

Call 212-759-8899


Book an Appointment

Featured Insights