Chronic Pain

The management of chronically painful conditions requires the coordinated effort of a variety of clinicians and the knowledge and skills of trained physical therapists. The traditional approaches to orthopedic physical therapy may not benefit the patient and, in fact, may perpetuate or worsen their pain. Therapists dealing with chronic pain conditions have the skill and experience to determine what physical factors may be perpetuating the patient's condition, how to resolve these as much as possible and how to progress the patient to their highest level of function. They also have an understanding of the psychology of chronic pain.

Physical therapists work closely with the referring physicians, providing them with valuable observations about the patient’s condition. This includes changes in muscle tone and the presence of trigger points, their response to medications, and the physical manifestations of emotional components or sleep disturbances.

Therapeutic Treatments for Chronic Pain may Include:

  • Treatment for biomechanical dysfunctions
  • Recognition and treatment for myofascial dysfunction
  • Postural retraining
  • Determination of appropriate type and level of exercise
  • Stress management using surface EMG biofeedback
  • Identification and modification of activities which aggravate pain
  • Physical management techniques for the physiological effects of stress

Physical Therapy Goals Include:

  • Self-management of muscle tension
  • Personalized and realistic home exercise programs
  • Prevention of exacerbations