What is Physical Therapy?

A way of getting rid of your pain naturally

By Karen Longe

Now that it is spring and summer is around the corner, we think about gardening, riding, playing tennis, and getting more active. But, sometimes a body is not quite ready for this type of activity; pain may limit you from participation. The sooner your pain is addressed, the faster you may be able to diminish or relieve your pain entirely.

Shoulder, back, neck, and foot pain are common complaints and limit individuals when doing “simple” things. A shoulder may hurt as you reach to put something away on a shelf, put on or tuck in a shirt, or reach into the back seat of the car. Some people experience back pain when they sit or stand. Others may experience pain in the neck while at work looking at a computer, or if the head is turned while backing up a car. Still some individuals experience foot pain in the morning when they first wake up, traversing down the stairs, or when they walk or jog.

What is the number one mistake most people make when they have pain? They ignore it and think the pain will just go away. Some individuals may take medications if pain persists; this masks the pain and doesn’t truly address the reason for it.

How can you rid yourself of pain and enjoy the activities you wish to without medications, injections or surgery? Physical therapy. A physical therapist will first perform a very thorough evaluation to determine the root cause of your pain. The evaluation consists of a series of questions about what activities or positions make your pain better, and what activities worsen your pain. Typically, a physical therapist will want to know if pain awakens you at night, the level of pain you experience in the morning and at the end of the day, as well as the type of pain it is – sharp or dull.

Once these types of questions are answered, the physical therapist will also evaluate and assess your strength, flexibility, and balance. Some additional testing may be completed to determine the specific cause of your pain. Once a therapist is assured your situation is a musculoskeletal problem, they will be able to develop a plan to reduce or rid you of the pain by implementing a treatment plan. Treatment may include joint and soft tissue mobilization, instruction in corrective exercises, and education in proper body mechanics; other options may include dry needling, taping, or other modalities specific to your unique needs.

What is the goal of physical therapy? The goals of treatment are to first get rid of your pain, then to get you pain free through your full range of motion. When you are pain free through all positions, a therapist can then strengthen you through these movements. Once you have strength through full range motion, a physical therapist can commence training in a specific sport, or activity movement pattern to achieve your mobility and performance goals. For example, if your goal is to play tennis your needs are very different from someone who wants to ride in the hunt. A soccer player has different movement needs then a golfer, and a gardener has different needs then an artist.

If you or someone you know is in pain and would like to get rid of their pain naturally – without medications, injections or surgery, contact a physical therapist who specializes in manual therapy, powerful education, and corrective exercises. With an expert treatment plan, you may soon be able to participate in the activities you enjoy, without the pain.

About the Author:

Karen Longe MPT is the founder of KEL Physical Therapy in Warrenton VA. She enjoys helping people get back to activities that they love to do NATURALLY using her manual therapy skills, dry needling, powerful education and instruction in corrective exercises. She is passionate about educating and provides monthly workshops open to all. For more information on her services contact her via phone at 540-422-0020,  email ptwithkel@gmail.com, or visit the website www.KEL-PT.com.


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