How Physical Therapists Manage Pain︱IMPACT Physical Therapy
A man with back pain in a bed

Physical therapists manage pain by using hands-on care and techniques to restore strength and mobility throughout the body. This method of pain management avoids the use of opioids as physical therapists help their patients learn how to be an active participant in their recovery. Learn more about how physical therapy works, and request an appointment with IMPACT Physical Therapy to start your path to healing

How Physical Therapy Works 

The practice of physical therapy is built on the biomechanical science of the body, using the principles of how muscles and systems work together to create healthy, comfortable movement. Physical therapists are trained to understand how the body works and what it needs to get back to its full range of motion. 

Physical therapists manage pain through: 

  • Exercise: while adding more movement while you’re in pain may seem counterintuitive, adding gentle, thoughtful exercise to your aggravated area can help relieve tightness and discomfort. 
  • Stretching: stretching encourages flexibility and can be particularly helpful to those struggling with tight muscles and joints. 
  • Core building: adding strength to your core provides overall stability for your entire body, which contributes to balance and agility. 
  • Use of heat or ice: occasionally heating up or cooling down muscles and joints can help to reduce swelling. 
  • Massage: hands-on treatment can help mobilize muscle tissue and release tension and inflammation. 
  • Dry needling: thin needles can be used to penetrate the skin and stimulate trigger points. Dry needling does not involve medication; rather, the needles are strategically placed to improve circulation and relieve pain. 

Physical Therapy for Pain 

Working with a physical therapist to manage your pain starts with an initial consultation where the therapist will review your symptoms and medical history. From there, the therapist will create a custom treatment plan to target your specific affliction. This plan may involve any of the aforementioned treatment methods performed over a series of sessions. 

Depending on the severity of your symptoms, you may visit a physical therapist once a week or more for multiple weeks. The average physical therapy patient is in treatment anywhere from six to eight weeks, but each patient is unique. This form of pain management takes time, but because you’ll be learning specific techniques and exercises to alleviate your discomfort, you’ll be able to apply these teachings well after your official sessions are complete. 

Let Our Physical Therapists Manage Your Pain 

The physical therapists at IMPACT Physical Therapy are here to help you work through your symptoms with pain management techniques designed for you. We have multiple locations throughout Illinois and we look forward to helping you heal!