Is Physical Therapy Painful?

Is Physical Therapy Painful?

Experience the Relief and Relaxation That Comes with Physical Therapy

While physical therapy can be painful under some circumstances, it should not be painful in the traditional sense of the word. When you are in the hands of a skilled, experienced, and compassionate physical therapist like the ones on the team at ProFysio Physical Therapy, physical therapy should create a sensation of “good pain.” To relieve pain and improve range of motion, we will create a personalized exercise plan. If you are familiar with the relaxing pain that comes with stretching, this is what we mean when we say physical therapy should create a sensation of “good pain.” When you stretch your muscles, your blood vessels relax, which releases beta-endorphins.

Stretching should only create slight feelings of tightness or tension, which can feel like mild discomfort within the muscle, but the pain should not extend further than that. If the feeling is more intense than that, you might be stretching too intensely. When you attend physical therapy, we will guide you through every step of the way and monitor your pain levels. If the pain reaches a point that feels more intense than it should, we will address that area and take another approach in order to heal it.

What Does Physical Therapy Feel Like?

Some patients avoid physical therapy because they are afraid they will experience pain along with it. In fact, this is the opposite of the truth. Avoiding physical therapy to avoid pain can actually create more pain in the long run because it will worsen the injury and extend discomfort. Physical therapy can often give people a renewed sense of hope because it shows them a variety of recovery options that can be customized to meet their needs.

It is normal for patients to feel sore after physical therapy, and this can actually be a sign that your body is making progress. If your muscles are not faced with any kind of resistance, your muscle fibers will not be given an adequate chance to grow. While this might result in minor discomfort in the short term, it facilitates strength and recovery in the long run. If patients try to devise their own treatment method rather than following a professional plan, they can actually end up injuring themselves even more.

Four Phases of Recovery in Physical Therapy

Instead of the painful experience that patients sometimes worry about, what they often leave our office with is greater strength, improved range of motion, and recovery. Each patient’s recovery will look a bit different and will depend on the extent of their individual injury. However, there are four primary phases of recovery that each patient goes through. These four phases include:

  • Decreasing pain and inflammation

During this phase, we will focus on protecting the irritated and damaged tissues to prevent further injury. This is not the time for long periods of rest, as this will decrease strength and flexibility. Typical steps during this stage include elevating the injured body part to minimize swelling and compressing the inflamed area in order to facilitate the body’s natural healing process.

  • Increasing mobility, flexibility, and strength

During this step of the process, we will focus on loading the muscles, tendons, and ligaments through stretching and mobility exercises that are tailored to your specific needs. For some patients, cardiovascular activities also can increase blood flow and help heal the tissues during this time. Patients will be able to find freedom through the range of exercises they can access through these treatments, and it will offer a glimpse into the future of the activities they will be able to perform during their recovery.

  • Returning to normal function and activity

At this point, the goal is for the patient to begin a gradual return to their regular routines. Whether this involves swimming, running, strength training, or other activities, the key with this step is to build up to the point of full recovery. During this step, it is important to be mindful of pain levels and monitor areas of sensitivity. This will give us some insight into the best way to move forward and ensure proper, long-term healing.

  • Maintaining strength and preventing injury

When you begin to experience recovery, it is important to keep the momentum going. You can achieve maintenance of your body’s strength through continuation of your strength and conditioning practices. Most experts recommend for at least 30 minutes a day. This will keep your body functioning at peak efficiency and throughout the span of your life, it will be the reason that physical activity relieves pain.

If you are ready to finally get the pain relief you deserve, call ProFysio Physical Therapy at (732) 812-5200 or contact us online.

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