By: Dr Allison Hoestermann, PT, DPT
WHY? More and more studies are showing that the longer you wait to address pain, the more difficult your condition will be to treat. The reason being: Once your body experiences pain, it will begin to compensate, thus creating further dysfunction and pain in other areas.
Musculoskeletal pain is pain that is felt on the skin or in the muscle, joints, bones, or ligaments. These structures are particularly sensitive to inflammation or swelling due their 1.) High blood flow and 2.) Relationship to movement.
A Doctor of Physical Therapy is an expert at treating musculoskeletal pain, second only to an orthopedic surgeon.1 You do NOT need a Physician Referral to see a Physical Therapist.
What to expect when you see a Physical Therapist for your pain:
- A Physical Therapist will take a thorough medical history and ask several questions about your pain. Questions may include: Where is the pain? What is the quality of the pain? What aggravates the pain? What relieves the pain? When does the pain occur throughout the day? What impact does the pain have on your function and mood?
- Next, the Physical Therapist will examine and evaluate the quantity and quality of movement. He/she will identify abnormalities with walking/running, assess posture, find areas of tenderness, assess joint mobility, nerve tension, motion, strength, flexibility, balance, check lifting, bending, and squat mechanics to figure out where the source of your pain may be originating.
- They will be able to take those findings and identify where the muscles are not functioning properly and may be shut down, causing abnormal movement patterns.
- Putting all of the pieces together, the PT will be able to make an individualized exercise plan, as well as perform manual techniques to improve movement quality and reduce dysfunction.
Research has shown that patients who went to physical therapy within 90 days of onset of low back pain avoided having an MRI, x-ray imaging, spinal injections, surgery, and prescription of opioids versus those patients who waited longer to attend PT. http://www.apta.org/Media/Releases/Consumer/2015/4/9/
- A description of physical therapists’ knowledge in managing
musculoskeletal conditions. JD Childs, JM Whitman, PS Sizer, ML Pugia,
TW Flynn, A Delitto. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders, 2005