Physical Medicine Pain Treatment
Physical therapy is a type of conservative treatment that helps relieve pain, promote healing and improve movement and function. It is often used in the treatment of back and neck pain.
Pain can have different causes. Mechanical back or neck pain results from damage to the structures of the spine. These include the vertebral bones, intervertebral joints and discs, ligaments, muscles and nerves. Physical medicine is more beneficial when treating this kind of pain. Non-mechanical back pain resulting from underlying pathology such as an infection, tumor or certain diseases may benefit from physical medicine though treatment is mainly focused on eliminating the underlying cause.
Physical medicine offers a wide range of treatments which can be broadly divided in 2 types.
Requires your active participation and includes exercises that stretch and strengthen the muscles as well as provide pain relief and aerobic conditioning.
Passive treatments are treatments that are administered by a doctor or therapist. It includes:
- Traction: Stretches the spine to relieve nerve compression
- Massage: Increases blood flow, promoting healing and reduces spasms and stiffness
- Heat and cold therapy: Heat promotes circulation. Cold therapy may be used in the initial phase of an injury to decrease inflammation
- Ultrasound: Delivers heat to the deep tissues
- TENS: Uses electrical impulses to block pain signals from the affected part
- Braces: Supports the back as it heals after an injury or surgery
Your doctor will identify the source of your pain and discuss the type of treatment that would benefit you.