When you are living with chronic pain, every day can be a challenge. When it comes to helping the more than 116 million people living with chronic pain in the United States, physical therapists, like Michael Milnes, play an important role. They help their patients by administering treatments like strengthening and flexibility exercises, manual therapy, body mechanics instruction, and posture awareness. Many physical therapists, through the course of their treatment, can also help to determine any underlying causes that may be creating the chronic pain condition.
For those suffering from chronic pain, even the lightest touch can be painful. It is the job of the physical therapist to gain the trust of the patient and instill in them the belief that the work you do with them will yield positive results. They have to help their patients understand that they will begin to see a reduction in pain, however, the progress will be slow and they will need to stick with the treatments. If chronic pain has been present for a significant amount of time, it is important to understand that it may take a while for significant improvement to be realized.
When physical therapy treatments are first administered, the therapist may have to start with gentle massage, stretching, and possibly light traction. These methods can be a great way to treat pain along the spinal column. As the treatment progresses, the physical therapist may begin to incorporate moist heat, therapeutic ice, hydrotherapy, ultrasound, and electrical stimulation into the treatments. These treatments are designed to help relieve pain, reduce inflammation, and relax muscles. Once these therapy methods are tolerable for the patient, the therapist may begin to introduce a low-intensity exercise routine into the therapy.
When low-intensity exercise is introduced into the treatment plan, the therapist will evaluate their patients pain levels. If they remain high, they will start their treatment by focusing on the movement and exercising of non-painful areas. This method helps the patient become more comfortable with establishing a routine. As the treatments progress, the therapist will slowly increase the exercises in intensity and begin to focus on the painful areas. Along with establishing a routine, this also helps the patient begin to increase their mobility.
For those that suffer from chronic pain, they often find themselves caught in an unending cycle of pain avoidance. This leads to inactivity, resulting in an unhealthy lifestyle. Without constant, targeted movement, the body sees a reduction in strength, range of motion, and endurance, which can lead to further injury. Physical therapists, like Michael Milnes, dedicate their lives to helping their patients achieve a healthy lifestyle free from chronic pain. They establish routines that help their patients feel more confident and able to incorporate their treatments into their daily lives.