Understanding Pain Management

Think dealing with pain is part of everyday life?

Think again, Patricia Stark, a patient advocate, recently told MD TV.

The key is to find the treatment method that works best for you.

And that can go beyond traditional medications to manage pain, which for some proves ineffective over time anyway.

Your alternatives? Visiting a pain center that offers patients seemingly more non-traditional options like acupuncture or physical therapy.

“Most people don’t come to physical therapy because they’re feeling good,” Pete Elser, PT, MS, OCS, Clinical Director of the Tidewater Physical Therapy Kempsville clinic in Norfolk, Va. told MD TV.

They come, Elser said, because they want to feel better.

Elser commonly works with patients who have been living with or are newly suffering from traumatic pain. While they all hurt, Elser breaks pain management physical therapy patients into three categories: those who have suffered from a trauma (such as a motor vehicle accident, trauma from surgery and sport injuries), those with a degenerative issues (such as tendonitis, bursitis, arthritis or even poor posture) and those living with a regional syndrome (such as fibromyalgia and MS).

“It’s just remarkable how much poor posture over the years can accumulate and wreak havoc on the body and cause chronic and/or acute flare-ups of what is reoccurring pain from previous chronic issues,” Elser said about patients he treats for pain related to degenerative issues.

As for regional syndromes and trauma patients, “the earlier we intervene with someone, the less secondary problems people tend to have. When someone has an injured body part, they start moving differently because the body has a remarkable way of figuring out new ways to move, ways to get around the pain, or just ways to get by.”

Getting them into physical therapy early allows for a clinician, like Elser, to catch those compensating movements early to ensure they don’t become bad habits, leading to even further pain down the line.

For Elser and other physical therapists, it’s about getting to the source of the pain and fixing it. Not masking the pain.

Elser encourages everyone to remember that “movement is medicine” and physical therapists help you move.

Learn more about physical therapy as a tool for pain management in the video above or find a physical therapist today near you and make your own appointment.