What Physical Therapies are there available to manage pain?

Physical therapists advocate exercise to improve pain.  Physical therapies can treat many ailments including: osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, chronic headaches, rheumatoid arthritis and neuropathic pain.

The goal to physical therapies is to get patients moving as they may be weak from stopping physical activity.   These physical therapies can include: massage, manipulation of joints and bones, manual therapy using hands or tools on soft tissue; cold laser therapy; and movement therapy and exercise.

Massaging of painful areas, movement therapy and exercise can increase circulation to the area and improve mobility of muscles.  Practitioners may be experienced in one or a few of these treatments and may recommend several options to you.

Manipulation of joints and bones needs to be undertaken by a registered Chiropractor or Physiotherapist.  They should be experienced and trained in certain techniques that will improve pain management for the patient.

Cold laser therapy uses a cold laser or low level light therapy treatment that is non-invasive.  Therapists should hold qualifications and be experienced in these treatments also.

You may wish to try these treatments.  It is strongly advisable to try one treatment at time to understand how your body responds to the treatment and improves your pain management and mobility.

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Pain Management Without Pill Taking

pain relief without pillsOnce you are in pain and you commence taking Paracetamol, Ibuprofen, Codeine and other drugs it is very easy to depend on these drugs to manage your pain.  It can get very expensive and many of these drugs have side-affects which you may or may not be aware of.

If you have found out the source of your pain and the condition that you have that is giving you pain, consider commencing pain management strategies that can reduce your pain.  Before undertaking any new exercise, obtain approval from your GP or health care provider to ensure the exercise is suitable for your condition.

Here are some pain management strategies that don’t involve taking pills.

  1. Stretching – If your pain is muscular skeletal, gentle stretching of the inflamed area may reduce your pain. Consider arm raising, leg stretching and leg raising to keep your joints moving.  If it hurts stop the exercise.
  2. Walking – Movement may assist in pain management. If you have a walking stick or are in a wheel chair, consider walking or floating in a pool to get the weight off your joints.  If you are walking in water ensure the water is above your waist level so you are not putting too much pressure on your back, knees, legs or feet.
  3. Fit ball – The fit ball can be a great aid to assist in pain management. Ensure you brace your abdominal muscles and lift your pelvic floor.  Begin with basic exercises like pelvic rotations, alternative leg lifts and alternative arm lifts.
  4. Your diet – Some foods have natural anti-inflammatory properties, these include pineapple, nuts and green leafy vegetables. Swap out some unhealthy foods for these healthy alternatives and see if you have an improvement in your pain levels.

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Activities that we do Wrong that Result in Back Pain

There are many things that we do every day that result in back pain.  Here are a few activities that cause back pain.

  1. Driving – A long commute often results in back pain because we sit in the middle of the seat. Ensure you are sitting up against the back of the seat and can reach the steering wheel and pedals comfortably.  If you cannot sit back comfortably, place a cushion behind your lower back or purchase a back support for your car seat.
  2. Sleeping – If you sleep on your stomach you may be causing additional pressure on your lower back. Try an alternative sleep position like on your back with a pillow underneath your knees.  If you must sleep on your stomach, place a pillow under your lower stomach to reduce the pressure on your back.
  3. Brushing your teeth and shaving – When you bend over the sink, you place pressure on your lower back. If you do this for several minutes each morning, this places much stress on your lower back.  Try standing upright and bending over briefly or try brushing your teeth and shaving whilst having a shower.

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How to Reduce Chronic Pain at Work

If you are working in an office or a role where you are sitting all the time, you will need to take frequent breaks from sitting to stretch your back and legs.  The following exercises can be done discretely in your chair and will assist with managing back pain and mobility.

  1. If you are working at a computer for a long length of time, ensure you get up when you start to feel pain or every hour. Get up from your chair and go and talk to someone or have a coffee, tea or glass of water.
  2. Ensure you drink plenty of water during the day. For an adult this is 2 litres of water a day.  If you are having trouble drinking enough water, measure out 2 litres of water and keep a litre on your desk.  This will encourage you to drink more water.
  3. When you are sitting in the chair, stretch your arms above your head and hold your hands.
  4. While sitting, brace your pelvic floor and slowly lift each leg alternatively. If you can hold your leg up, try and keep your leg raised for 30 seconds.  Do 10 leg lifts on each side.
  5. Brace your pelvic floor again and slowly, do some pelvic rotations, completed 10 rotations clockwise and 10 anticlockwise.
  6. If someone sees you doing these exercises, tell them you are doing stretches and you feel great. They might just copy you.

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Pain Management Strategies that Work for Athletes

knee athletes pain As Athletes have pushed their bodies to the extreme, they need to have customised pain management strategies that suit their injuries and assist their recovery to get back to their sport.

These pain management strategies include:

  • Education regarding the current understanding of pain – The source and cause of the pain needs to be fully understood to develop pain management strategies that work.
  • Modalities and massage – Different massage techniques are available to assist with pain management in different areas. These modalities include Remedial Massage, Sports Massage, Deep Tissue Massage, Relaxation Therapy, Hot Stone Therapy, Reflexology, Shiatsu Therapy, Cupping Therapy and many others.
  • Movement, strength and conditioning – A series of movements designed to strengthen your body and ensure you get the best results for your training. Professional athletes use these techniques to build muscle and body strength.  Personal trainers and Physiotherapists can guide you with developing an exercise program to suit your pain management needs.
  • Sleep and nutrition – Sleep helps your body to heal and while you are sleeping, muscle and tissues will repair which will reduce pain. Good nutrition is required for the body to repair itself.  Certain foods may assist with pain management by reducing inflammation and these foods include Tumeric, Fish oil, tomatoes, nuts, green leafy vegetables and berries including blue berries, cherries and strawberries.
  • Surgery – Obviously this is the last call, but many people have endured surgery and still have pain management issues.
  • Psychosocial interventions – Psychological factors can be targeted to improve your state of mind and assist you to improve your pain management. The BeatPain App will assist your mental well-being and ability to improve your pain management.  Find out more about the BeatPain App today at the App Store or Google Play.