When you have musculoskeletal pain, it can stop you in your tracks. Knee pain can make walking difficult, and a tender elbow can make driving or cooking dinner difficult.
Pain medication only masks your symptoms instead of helping you to get better. Plus, taking pain relievers for long periods of time isn’t good for your health; some medications cause organ damage and other harmful side effects.
Physical therapy is a standard treatment for a wide range of musculoskeletal conditions and injuries. However, many orthopaedic physicians write you a referral for physical therapy, and you make an appointment with a separate provider.
At Delta Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine, going to physical therapy is quick and convenient; it’s part of our practice and is offered at our Collierville location.
The reason we offer physical therapy
Physical therapy uses a variety of methods to relieve musculoskeletal pain and stiffness and help you regain normal or close-to-normal physical function and mobility. It helps you recover faster after a traumatic accident or sports injury that affects your musculoskeletal system.
Physical therapy is just as useful for chronic conditions such as arthritis. The techniques used in the therapy help you to strengthen the muscles surrounding a damaged joint, which reduces pain and friction in the joint.
At your appointments, your Delta Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine therapist leads you through an individually designed program specifically tailored to your problem, whether it’s low back pain or recovery from a hip replacement or a broken ankle.
If you’re in pain from a chronic condition like arthritis or from an accident like a fall, the last thing you probably feel like doing is moving the painful body part. However, as the saying goes, move it or lose it.
Because you’re in pain, the first physical therapy sessions focus more on passive modalities such as gentle massage, ice or heat, electrical stimulation, and gentle physical manipulation of the painful area. These passive methods calm inflammation, which lessens your pain. In future sessions, expect more active modalities including exercises and stretches.
Passive physical therapy modalities
Your physical therapist uses various passive methods to help ease your pain and inflammation so movement becomes easier.
Ultrasound produces deep heat to ease your discomfort. Your therapist smooths on a cool gel to the target area, and then glides the applicator in gentle circles over your skin as the ultrasound waves break up knotted tissue.
To increase circulation to the problem area, your therapist may use electrical stimulation via a TENS unit (transcutaneous electrical neuromuscular stimulation) to relieve your pain. The increased blood flow brings rich nutrients to the tissue and helps to calm the inflammation.
Your therapist places electrodes on the target area, and you’ll feel quick pulses penetrate deep into the painful area.
While you’re lying on a table, your therapist gently moves the body part causing you pain. This can help stretch out muscles that may be bunched together or help align your body in the correct position.
Your therapist massages and manipulates the painful area with his hands to release tight muscles. This also increases circulation.
At the end of an appointment, your therapist will likely apply heat or ice to your painful body part. Ice calms swelling and heat improves your circulation.
Active physical therapy modalities
Once your inflammation and pain decrease, your therapist has you perform gentle stretches and other movements that eventually result in better range of motion, less discomfort, and more normal function. Working with a ball, a resistance band, a stationary bike, and other equipment is all geared toward helping you move normally again.
Physical therapy appointments are usually 2-3 times per week. The therapy doesn’t end at the office appointments. Doing the exercises at home is a critical part of the therapy. Your therapist can provide written instructions with pictures depicting how to do the exercises correctly.
Call Delta Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine or book an appointment online today if you’re suffering from musculoskeletal pain. We’re your partner in pain relief.