Written by: Nick Licameli PT, DPT, Clinical Director of Professional PT’s Nutley, NJ Clinic
It is important to remember that pain is multi-factorial, poorly defined in the scientific literature, extremely variable from activity to activity, and rarely due to a single traumatic event. We can actually have pain with or without tissue damage! Therefore, experiencing pain does NOT mean you are “broken” and need “fixing.”
Once we rule out red flags such as: pain that is constant, unpredictable, and not reproducible, numbness/tingling, loss of bowel/bladder function, fever, or suspected fracture, we approach pain by gradually exposing the body to movement and load. This graded exposure approach is specific to the goals of the patient and will be different for everyone. The goal is to desensitize the system and rebuild in a step-wise fashion to return to full function. When it comes to back pain, we want to keep you moving!
Beware of over searching the internet for answers about your pain. Do your homework, but please do not get overwhelmed. There is a TON of information out there… some good and some not so good. The “not so good” information can be both misleading, discouraging, and can impact your outcome and response to physical therapy. There’s no need to fill your mind with harmful narratives about your pain before having them validated. Gather any information you come across and ask your therapist questions. Do not leave an appointment with your PT until all of your questions are answered. That’s why we’re here!
In your first week of therapy for your pain, you will be evaluated by a physical therapist. They will dive into your history, listen with empathy, and understand you as a person, not a diagnosis. After ruling out red flags, the physical therapist will perform an evaluation, which may include things like strength testing, range of motion testing, and much more. Together, you and your PT will discuss your goals and develop a plan of care as a team.
Understand that this will be a journey, not a quick fix. Therefore, consistency will be key to your recovery. Your therapist may give you a home exercise program with specifically prescribed exercises and stretches, offer practical modifications to activities of daily living, and recommend small lifestyle changes that will help you along your path to recovery. Embrace the physical therapy journey because the principles you learn with your PT now will make you more independent and resilient moving forward. It is true that the most challenging times in our lives are the times of greatest growth and enlightenment.
We are here for you! It is our honor and pleasure to be on this journey together.
Wondering if you could be a good fit for physical therapy? Request an appointment today with one of our Professional physical therapists for a complimentary 20-minute consultation. From there, your therapist will develop a personalized exercise plan to help you reach your goals. Ready to get started? Find a location near you by visiting, https://www.professionalpt.com/physical-therapy-clinics-near-me/.