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Pain Management and Physical Therapy

Sometimes pain treatment can be accomplished through physical therapy. Physical therapy (PT), also known as physiotherapy, involves the treatment, healing, and 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.

Recommended Related to Pain Management

Muscle Spasms, Cramps, and Charley Horse

You could be out for a run or drifting off to sleep when it happens: The muscles of your calf or foot suddenly become hard, tight, and extremely painful. You are having a muscle cramp. Sometimes called charley horses -- particularly when they are in the calf muscles -- cramps are caused by muscle spasms, involuntary contractions of one or more muscles. In addition to the foot and calf muscles, other muscles prone to spasms include the front and back of the thigh, the hands, arms, abdomen, and muscles...

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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
  • Strengthening exercises
  • Pain relief exercises
  • Low-impact aerobic conditioning

Points to Consider

An important aspect to keep in mind about physical therapy is  that it is individualized to meet each person's individual needs. Each person may respond differently to therapy. People have different types of bodies, different patterns of movement, different alignments, and different habits. Physical therapists and their trained staff can monitor each individual and develop a program to correct improper habits, alignments, and movement patterns.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Arefa Cassoobhoy, MD, MPH on August 01, 2013

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