Physical Therapy for Chronic Pain
Chronic, or persistent, pain affects 42-50 million Americans. Chronic pain is defined as pain that is present for more than 6 months and extends beyond the expected healing time of an injury. It can be the result of a previous injury like a muscle strain or an ongoing process like arthritis, but can sometimes occur without a known reason. Symptoms can vary from mild to severe and can limit an individual’s ability to complete daily activities. Growing research supports that the underlying cause of these symptoms are due to central sensitization (increased sensitivity of the central nervous system).
How We Treat Chronic Pain
Physical therapy is recommended as a first line treatment for chronic pain by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in their urge to reduce the use of opioids in favor of safer alternatives for chronic pain. The benefits of physical therapy include decreased pain, improved mobility, and increased independence as well as reduced risk of other health problems.
A physical therapist will complete a comprehensive evaluation aimed at determining the underlying cause of your pain and will create a customized program to address your needs. This examination may include screening the upper and lower quarter as well as assessing the sensitivity of your nerves. Services may include:
- Manual therapy
- Modalities (heat, ice, ultrasound, iontophoresis, electrical stimulation)
- Strengthening exercises
- Flexibility exercises
- Relaxation strategies
- Graded exercise
- Pain neuroscience education (PNE)
- Pacing strategies
- Conditioning exercises
*Services are not available at all locations. Call or click the location page near you for that center’s services.
What to Expect
Every patient has a unique health history, diagnosis and personal goals. When you come for your first appointment, we will create a personalized treatment plan for you.
We work with most major insurance providers and do our best to help keep the paperwork pain-free. If you’d like to confirm your insurance coverage, please let us know and we can verify when you schedule. If your insurance provider requires a co-pay, we will ask for this payment at each visit. We accept payments by cash, check or credit card.
When to Arrive
On average, a patient’s first visit lasts about an hour. We typically ask patients to arrive 15 minutes early to sign-in, complete paperwork and/or change clothes.
What to Bring
On your first visit, you’ll need to bring your physician referral or prescription (if needed), your insurance card, your primary registration forms, your ID or driver’s license and your co-payment (as applicable). If desired, you may bring a change of clothing.
How it Works
During your first visit, your physical therapist will do an initial evaluation and discuss your plan of care. The therapist uses this information to set goals for your continued treatment. Physical therapy goals may include improved movement, strength, endurance and flexibility, as well as decreased pain. Your subsequent visits will focus on treatment that is based on your diagnosis and individualized goals.