Why are you seeking PT? Are you rehabbing post-op (after surgery), recovering from an injury, or looking for guidance and training for athletics? While these are all popular and valid reasons for seeking out a qualified physical therapist, one of the main reasons people come to physical therapy is due to pain.
We have all experienced pain in one form or another. Sometimes it goes away on its own, while other times it lingers or even worsens. A significant part of the road to recovery is understanding your pain and how it is impacting your movement, recovery, and quality of life. That's where a physical therapist comes in.
The most prominent reason people seek professional help in general is due to low back pain, impacting two-thirds of all people under the care of a healthcare provider. The majority of low back pain cases will resolve on their own (without any intervention) within a couple of weeks. However, for those who experience pain becoming chronic, it can be very debilitating. Pain can be due to a wide variety of reasons, such as mechanical issues (fractures, strains, and sprains). Although, pain can also be present and debilitating without any mechanical issues.
So the question remains, why am I in pain and how do I get rid of it?
Pain is an output, meaning that it is how your mind perceives a certain stimulus or sensation. If you were to touch a hot pot, your finger would sense a hot object, send that signal up neural pathways to your brain to be interpreted. Hopefully your brain will then signal a response to pull your hand away. The same can be said in regards to low back pain.
A neurological cascade is triggered where your body sends signals up to your brain. As a protective mechanism, your brain interprets pain and responds accordingly. The presence of this chronic pain can lead to movement abnormalities, muscle imbalances, depression, and decreased quality of life. A skilled physical therapist should be able to help by targeting the underlying source of your pain, as well as by educating you on the role that your brain plays in the body’s pain response.
Pain can be debilitating; but it doesn't have to be. Everyone experiences it, and everyone responds to it in their own way. Under guidance of a PT, you will learn how to understand your pain and how to overcome it. With an individualized treatment program, you will learn the role your brain plays in your pain response, regain the confidence to perform the same movements you have always been able to perform, and improve the quality of your life.
Remember, pain does not always equal damage.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are based on the opinion of the author, unless otherwise noted, and should not be taken as personal medical advice. The information provided is intended to help readers make their own informed health and wellness decisions.