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6 Steps to Get Pain Relief with Physical Therapy and Exercise

The use of some type of physical therapy and exercise is integral to almost all forms of back pain and neck pain treatment. Did you know that both gentle back exercise and physical therapy play a vital role in relieving pain?

Physical therapy and exercise are perhaps the most mainstream of all non-surgical treatments for back pain and neck pain. Physical therapy can also help prevent (and/or lessen) future recurrences of back pain or neck pain. Before engaging in any exercise program, please consult your physician.

  • Find the right type of help

Depending on your condition, you may need a healthcare professional to help you develop an appropriate list of activities to engage in and to avoid, as well as to develop and instruct you on an appropriate exercise program.

  • Alleviate the acute pain before you begin to exercise

When you're in a great amount of pain, the thought of active rehabilitation and exercise can be pretty daunting. Physical therapists can use a combination of the following passive pain-relieving techniques: Electrical stimulation (e.g. TENS units); Ice and/or heat; ultrasound; massage therapy.

  • Get others in your camp

Since the common belief for healing back problems is to rest, many of your friends or family may encourage you to rest if the exercise is causing you to struggle. By explaining ahead of time, they can understand how active rehabilitation is best for managing your condition. If you want support or help, you can also ask them to join you or encourage you during your exercises.

  • Engage in active physical therapy (exercise)

Active exercise is necessary to help the back heal and stay healthy. While some of the muscles that provide support for the spine are used in everyday life, most do not get adequate exercise from daily activities and tend to weaken with age unless they are specifically exercised.

  • Consider Water Therapy

Exercises that would normally be too painful to do on land, such as walking, often become tolerable to do in the water.

  • Expect some initial discomfort

Beginning an exercise program after an episode of back pain, or if you suffer from chronic back pain, will almost always cause some increase in your pain at first.

When doing an appropriate exercise program for back pain, you should experience "good pain". Stretching tissues that have become stiff and using muscles in unfamiliar ways may hurt a little. It is the kind of pain that you might experience after going to the gym for a tough workout, and can actually be a signal that you are getting better.

  • Carefully pace yourself

When returning to activity after an episode of pain or following surgery, you absolutely will want to pace yourself. The danger is getting in a pattern of beginning a day with minimal pain, and subsequently engaging in so many activities that you relapse with severe pain.

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