Physical therapy is an important part of chronic pain management.
In addition to helping to decrease pain, physical therapy helps decrease the negative impact of the pain on the individual’s overall physical condition.
There is focus on stretching and strengthening to help overcome the spasm and weakening that can accompany chronic pain. Moderate aerobic activity may be incorporated as well. Therapy may start in the pool. This minimizes the pull of gravity on already painful or overloaded joints. Therapy will progress to exercises done on land, and eventually to a home exercise program.
Occupational therapists help individuals to improve functioning in their daily lives and their services may be helpful in facilitating a return to work.
Services may include evaluation and recommendation of exercises or adaptive devices to overcome disabilities caused by pain or disease. Functional or physical capacity evaluations may be ordered to determine the individual's capabilities or need for job restrictions.
Work-site evaluations may be ordered to coordinate the occupational rehabilitation or to assess the need for modifications at the workplace to help the employee continue working.
Water therapy develops overall physical fitness concentrating on strength, endurance, balance and mobility. Patients are evaluated before beginning an aquatics program.