What Types Of Physical Therapy Are Used To Treat Pain?


Question: What Types Of Physical Therapy Can Be Used To Treat Pain?

Answer: There are many different techniques a physical therapist can use to help a patient with pain. Most of these techniques will be based upon the initial examination that a physical therapist will perform on the patient during their first appointment. At that time, we'll work with you to set up some goals and then establish a plan of care.

Some of those techniques that a therapist can use to help manage your pain are exercise, which can be stretching or strengthening exercises. We also will do a lot of education with you which will help teach you how to move more appropriately or move more efficiently to prevent pain or irritation of your current symptoms. We will also be working with you to establish a home exercise program, so you will not only achieve success with us while you are in our clinic, but also once you're discharged from physical therapy.

Other techniques we can use to help a patient manage pain are manual therapy, which may be soft tissue mobilization or techniques to help relieve muscle spasm or tender points. We can also mobilize stiff joints. Other techniques we utilize are modalities or hot or cold therapy using heat or cold packs.

We can also use electrical stimulation which essentially provides a tingly feeling on your skin when we apply the pads to you. We also have ultrasound which we can use to provide a more deeper, penetrating heat or to prepare tissue for exercises to come in the session.


Laurie Sweet, P.T., Outpatient Physical Therapy, Johns Hopkins Hospital

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