When it comes to treating minor or major aches and pains, it can be difficult to know which treatment strategy is right for you. We may seem a little biased considering our profession, but we truly believe that for a number of different injuries like strains, fractures and joint issues, physical therapy rises above the rest of your treatment options. It’s not the perfect solution for every pain, but in today’s blog, we’re going to share why physical therapy is oftentimes a better treatment option than other common techniques that people consider for their pain.
Why Choose PT
Here’s a look at four common treatment techniques for a number of common maladies, why they are recommended, and why we believe physical therapy is actually a better solution.
- Rest – The saying goes that “time heals all wounds,” but that’s not really true when it comes to many physical conditions. Rest is great at the outset because it helps protect an injured area from further damage, but rest alone will not get you back to a pre-injury level of health. If you’re off your feet for a week because of an ankle sprain or a back injury, supportive muscles are going to weaken and your conditioning will suffer. Rest needs to be paired with active treatment options like physical therapy that help to strengthen injured areas. Rest is a great treatment option, but it shouldn’t be your only solution.
- Painkillers – Painkillers have a great place in the recovery world, but just like rest, they shouldn’t be a stand alone option. They can help dull the most intense pain at the outset of injury and they can help prevent against painful flare ups, but they do nothing to fix the root cause of pain. Painkillers need to be paired with physical therapy in order to make the fullest physical recovery. Opioids and anti-inflammatory medications can make it so physical therapy sessions are less uncomfortable, but they need to be paired with treatment that addresses the underlying cause of pain, and that’s where PT comes in.
- Corticosteroid Injections – Sensing a theme here? Corticosteroid injections can provide more long-term relief than traditional painkillers, but they too are a passive treatment option. They are not a long-term solution to pain. An injection for pain can make it so everyday activities are more bearable, but again you need to be using this time of diminished pain to actively work to treat the underlying cause of pain. Pair your pain injections with physical therapy so that you eventually won’t have the need for future injections.
- Surgery – Physical therapy can’t address every condition, and if you’re dealing with a spinal tumor or a compound fracture in your tibia, surgery may be the perfect solution. However, for a lot of conditions, surgeons will recommend that you try physical therapy for your injuries for at least six weeks before they’ll consider operating. Surgery is a traumatic experience for the body, and surgeons try to avoid it if at all possible. They may be able to fix your herniated disc or your sciatic nerve pain with a decompression procedure, but physical therapy can also fully treat both of these conditions, so PT is often preferred prior to an operation. Even if surgery is necessary, care to guess what treatment you will likely be prescribed to help strengthen muscle groups and stabilize the surgical site after the operation? You guessed it, physical therapy!
If you’re interested in working towards a healthier you by learning more about your physical therapy options, reach out to OrthoRehab Specialists today.