chronic pain management


After a thorough initial assessment and the formulation of a physical therapy diagnosis, chronic pain physical therapy consists of two distinct, but overlapping phases. During the first phase, the emphasis is on reduction of pain. The Physical therapist may use manual trigger point therapy, deep muscle massage therapy, or other soft tissue and joint mobilization techniques. In addition, patients will be educated about their pain problem, the role of the central and peripheral nervous system, and the importance of improved posture and early conditioning exercises. Chronic pain conditions rarely are associated with persistent tissue damage. In other words, “The issues are not in the tissues.”

During the second phase of physical therapy, the focus shifts to further improving physical function and reducing disability and suffering. It is important to learn self-pacing skills and set achievable goals. Goals should include physical goals (exercise, walking), functional goals (work, recreation), and social goals.

The Physical therapist can play an integral role in assisting the patient with chronic pain to return to a meaningful life.

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