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Physical Therapy and Pain Management

Sometimes pain relief can be accomplished through physical therapy. Physical therapy (PT) involves treatment that focuses on prevention of injuries or disabilities. PT helps to relieve pain, promote healing, and restore function and movement.

PT is practiced by a professionally trained physical therapist under the referral of a doctor. A physical therapist is a specialist skilled and educated specifically in proper rehabilitation.

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What Kind of Back Problem Do You Have?

Unless you are totally immobilized from a back injury, your doctor probably will examine your range of motion and nerve function and touch your body to locate the area of discomfort. Blood and urine tests may be done to determine if the pain is caused by an infection or other systemic problem.   X-rays are useful in pinpointing broken bones or other skeletal defects. They can sometimes help locate problems in connective tissue. To analyze soft-tissue or disc damage, computed tomography (CT) or...

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How Is Physical Therapy Used to Treat Pain?

A therapist may focus on decreasing pain with either passive or active therapy. Examples of passive physical therapy include:

Examples of active physical therapy include:

  • Stretching and range of motion exercises
  • Strengthening exercises
  • Pain relief exercises
  • Low-impact aerobic conditioning

Points to Consider About Physical Therapy and Pain

An important aspect to keep in mind about physical therapy and pain relief is that each individual may respond differently to therapy. People have different types of bodies, different patterns of movement, and different habits. Physical therapists and their trained staff can monitor each individual and attempt to correct improper habits and movement patterns.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini, DO, MS on April 20, 2012
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