Physical therapy is getting national attention as a safer alternative to opioids for pain management to treat chronic pain and at On the Mend Physical Therapy, we are here to help you feel better and reduce or eliminate pain.

Today, many people turn to medication—whether that’s over-the-counter ibuprofen or prescription opioids—to manage chronic pain. And while medication can be helpful in some cases, it also comes with a host of negative—and potentially dangerous—side effects.

However, physical therapy is becoming an increasingly recognized pain management alternative. After all, when you treat pain with a pill, you’re really only masking a symptom. Once the medication wears off, you start to feel pain again, because the underlying condition causing the pain has not improved. A physical therapist, on the other hand, can identify the root cause of the pain—which is often musculoskeletal—and help correct it.

To do so, your therapist will conduct an initial evaluation using a variety of tests and measures. This, in combination with what you tell your therapist about your symptoms, will help him or her develop a therapy treatment plan with a goal of alleviating—or at least reducing—your pain. This may help you decrease your reliance on pharmaceuticals, although you’ll need to work closely with your physician(s) to make any changes to prescriptions or dosages.

Once you begin physical therapy, your therapist will use a combination of manual techniques (like massage and soft tissue manipulation) and guided exercise aimed at reducing stiffness and inflammation as well as correcting imbalances and weaknesses. He or she may also use ultrasound, electrical stimulation, or dry needling to treat pain areas.

While physical therapy is a long-term process—one that requires more time and effort than simply popping a pill—it often produces longer-lasting results (without the risk of dependency or overdose).

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