Living with chronic muscle pain can be extremely frustrating and debilitating. Many people who suffer from such pain can find that they become heavily reliant on taking pain medications, but these simply mask the discomfort for a period of time, rather than dealing with the underlying cause. And over time, many of these patients find that their tolerance to the pain medication increases, meaning that they need to increase the dosage or find alternatives to enjoy the same level of relief from their discomfort.
For individuals with chronic muscle pain, physical therapy provides one of the most effective and long-lasting treatment solutions that can help them to move away from taking regular pain medications.
There is a wide range of different conditions and problems that can cause someone to experience muscle pain. Some of the most common include:
Injuries such as strains and sprains
Too much physical activity
Autoimmune disorders such as myositis
Neurological disorders such as muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, or Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease
Obstructed blood flow
Side effects from certain medications
If you aren’t sure what is causing your muscle pain, we recommend that you speak to your doctor before seeking physical therapy treatment. An accurate diagnosis is important as you may need treatment carried out in addition to physical therapy.
Physical therapists are trained to not only treat the pain but also to treat the underlying cause of your discomfort. They can do this by looking for contributing factors to your pain, such as weaker or stiffer areas of your body that could be exacerbating the effects and making it harder to live with.
Initially, our physical therapist will perform an assessment. This will involve finding out more about the pain that you are experiencing, such as its location, its severity, and whether it comes and goes or is consistent. We will also carry out a physical assessment of your muscles and how that part of your body moves. In the case of injury, you may have visible bruising or swelling that will help us to determine the severity and subsequently, what treatment is necessary.
There is a range of physical therapy techniques that we may recommend. These could include the following:
Exercises. Physical therapy is best known for its exercises, which are designed specifically to help improve blood flow, increase flexibility, strengthen areas of your body, and increase your range of motion. Your exercises will be tailored to your individual needs and completed both with your physical therapist and at home. They may also change over time depending on how you respond to them.
Heat/cold therapy. Applying heat or cold to the affected area can also be beneficial. This is because heating up the tissues increases blood flow, helping any injuries to heal more quickly. Meanwhile, the application of cold can help to counteract inflammation and discomfort.
Massage. Massage can help to ease the tension that is being held in the muscles and causing you discomfort. There are various types of massage techniques and your physical therapist will work with you to find one that is beneficial.
If you would like more information about how physical therapy can help with muscle pain, or schedule an appointment, please contact our physical therapy center in North Massapequa, NY today.