Pain… we’ve all experienced it at one time or another. Most of us have been taught to ignore pain, to muster through it, to tough it out. Some of us even live by the motto “no pain, no gain.” When pain starts interfering with your normal everyday activities however, it is important to not only pay attention to your symptoms but also to take care of them in a timely manner . When treatment is put off or postponed, symptoms can oftentimes worsen and develop into even more serious problems due to compensations you may make to deal with the original problem.
• An experienced runner increases her mileage and develops knee pain. Her knee pain alters the way she runs and she starts to develop hip pain as a result of her altered running pattern.
• A volleyball player has limited and painful range of motion in one of his shoulders. He starts compensating through his back in order to block shots and serve the ball and soon develops significant mid back pain as a result of changing his form while playing his sport.
• A retired woman’s pesky foot pain worsens after a shopping spree with her friend. She starts walking with a slight limp and soon develops knee and hip pain from her compensated pattern.
• An older gentleman notices he can’t squat very well while picking up leaves in the yard and starts developing knee pain. He ignores it and just assumes that he’ll just have to learn to deal with the pain as he gets older. He becomes less active due to the worsening pain.
• A mother lifts her child off the floor in a hurry and something in her lower back doesn’t feel quite right. She decides to tough it out because she doesn’t have time to see someone about it. The pain eventually worsens and she develops neck pain in addition to her back pain as a result of having to lift and hold her child differently than she is used to. She also stops going to the gym because she’s afraid it may increase her pain.
Do you see yourself in any of these scenarios? In each of these examples and in many more, a physical therapist can help! Physical therapists are highly-trained experts in correcting body mechanics and in assessing the true origin of your pain. We commit to lifelong learning by taking yearly educational courses in which we learn new hands-on techniques in order to better our skills. Physical therapists use pain-relieving modalities like heat, cold, electrical stimulation, ultrasound and iontophoresis to decrease pain and inflammation. Exercises and stretches are also tailored to each patient’s specific weakness or impairment to optimize the best and quickest results for each individual. Hands-on treatment such as massage and joint mobilizations are routine parts of each treatment, in order to get you back to living life without discomfort as quickly as possible.
In most cases, the sooner you seek help for pain or discomfort, the shorter the duration of treatment needed for you to get you back to your normal everyday activities. Pain is not normal and many times it does not go away on it’s own. Pain is your body’s way of signaling to you that something isn’t quite right. Give it a day or two, but if the pain persists – take care of it and address it with your doctor or physical therapist.
Take an active role in your recovery so that I can get you on the road back to pain-free living.
Many of the physical therapists at Tidewater Physical Therapy Inc. hold Direct Access Certification through the Virginia Board of Physical Therapy allowing them to evaluate and treat patients without a prescription. As part of your healthcare team, a physical therapist will make an assessment of your condition and create a plan to start you on the road to wellness. Our team will communicate with your physician of record and obtain a referral, if necessary, for your continued treatment. We will also work with your insurance carrier to make sure services are covered by your plan.
Ashley Forrest, PT, MSPT, Clinical Director of Tidewater’s Denbigh location studied psychology at the University of Virginia and in 2001 earned her Masters of Science in Physical Therapy from the Medical College of Virginia. Ashley is Direct Access Certified.