The use and abuse of narcotic pain medi- cations has become a national crisis, brought on at least in part, by an idea that the best way to relieve pain is through a pill. While narcotic pain relievers definitely have a role in managing certain types of pain, they are not for every pain every time, and they do not cure the cause of the pain.
In fact, the best type of pain relief is the kind that addresses the immediate pain and aids in preventing future pain. Among all of the strategies for treating acute and chronic pain, Physical Therapy is one of the most effective, safest and result driven treatments available.
“It’s important to draw a distinction between acute pain, which usually results from an injury you can pinpoint when it happened or started and resolves fairly quickly, and chronic pain, which can last for months or even years and isn’t easily associated with an injury or disease,” said Leslyn Spaulding, PT, DPT, owner of Spaulding Physical Therapy in Mount Sterling.
Although treatment for both types of pain may be similar, finding the root cause of the pain is not. Diagnosing and treating chronic pain can be a challenge because the action that precipitated the pain – a car accident, a sudden twist or a poor lifting technique – could have happened so long ago that the patient doesn’t even remember it or doesn’t associate the pain with the injury.
Chronic pain may also originate from non-injury conditions, such as a degenerating disk, aging joints, or a pinched nerve. It’s often one of our Physical Therapist who is best able to determine the location from which the pain is originating and the extent of the problem”, Dr Spaulding said.
Chronic pain rarely goes away on its own. But a program of Physical Therapy and exercise, designed to address the underlying problem, can help. This includes the pain of:
• Pelvic joint pain
• Frozen shoulder
• Foot pain
• Carpal tunnel syndrome
• Tennis elbow
“At Spaulding Physical Therapy, we employ a unique approach that addresses the entire body structure, not just one area,” Dr. Spaulding noted. This holistic approach helps ensure that all of the issues contributing to pain are addressed. Spaulding can incororate the
principles of John F Barnes Myofascial Release therapy (Dr. Spaulding is a MFR Certified Expert the highest level available with the John F. Barnes System) which address restrictions in the body’s fascial system that can cause pain and restricted movement. Other components of Physical Therapy include personalized plans for postural awareness, movement techniques to reduce pain, and exercise to strengthen the muscles, ligaments and to support a proper frame to support the body. Stronger muscles in the abdomen, thighs, glutes, Trapezius and the Latissimus Dorsi, for example, can better support the spine and help keep vertebrae in proper alignment and even improve breathing for our patients.
Some diagnostic testing – such as MRIs and CT scans are better suited to show skeletal misalignments, fractures or congenital disease as well as severe muscular tears or sprains. When these tests show no reason for the problem, the implication is that the pain isn’t real or is psychosomatic, which is often not the case. “Fascial restrictions cannot be seen on MRI, or a CT” Dr. Spaulding noted. “So those studies tell us nothing about whether the muscle is weak, pinched or stiff or if the fascial system is compressed. An MRI cannot measure range of motion or see changes in body mechanics that contribute to pain.” We will perform a full evaluation that will measure the mechanics of your body.
A careful evaluation, conducted by one of our experienced Physical Therapist, can reveal problems that MRIs cannot.
“Fixing the cause of the pain, rather than simply medicating or masking it, takes time and effort,” Dr. Spaulding noted. “But it is absolutely worth it to be able to do the things you want to do without suffering, and without having to take a pill to make life tolerable.”
If you’d like to know more about how Physical Therapy can help with both chronic and acute pain, please call Spaulding Physical Therapy at (859) 497-2924. Spaulding Physical Therapy is located at 3041 Owingsville Road in Mount Sterling, KY 40353. Physician referrals are welcome, but not required.