Physical Therapy Eases Pain

Published Online: Saturday, January 1, 2005

Individuals with chronic pain may benefit from physical therapy to alleviate the pain. Julia Copeland, a physical therapist, believes physical therapy is a key component of a multidisciplinary pain management program. Copeland is cofounder of Integrated Therapies—an interdisciplinary outpatient clinic for evaluating and treating patients with delayed recovery from chronic pain.

Physical therapy works best for patients with long-standing headaches, neck and back pain, chronic conditions related to spinal injuries, complex regional pain syndrome, and nerve injuries that create chronic pain. Copeland advised that physical therapy can also help patients grasp what they can and cannot do so they do not keep creating situations that are contributing to the pain. For example, some patients deny their pain. She said that patients have to accept their limitations for successful rehabilitation. Another contributing factor to relieving chronic pain is a home exercise program. Copeland stressed that home management and self-management are major components in recovery. She said it is crucial for patients to understand and accept their role in the healing process.

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