The body’s pain response is a very complex and intricate orchestra between the brain and the peripheral tissues. Simply put, when disruption to a tissue occurs a signal is sent to and interpreted by the brain. Although experiencing pain is not pleasant, it is actually an important safety measure used by the body to protect from further injury. Due to the protective nature of pain, it is often a difficult task for an individual to ask their body to allow and trust a therapist to intervene.
Over centuries a myriad of treatments for pain have been developed, many effective and an equal number with no merit. You can trust that at HCPT your pain will be addressed through evidence-based techniques. Meaning these techniques have been validated as effective through the rigors of the scientific method. Common methods include:
- Soft-tissue mobilization (STM): this hands on approach is similar to traditional massage, where irritated tissues are addressed through human touch.
- Instrument-assisted soft-tissue mobilization (IASTM): this is similar to STM except a tool (constructed of stainless steel) is used to assess tissue integrity and apply treatement to the irritated tissue.
- Joint Mobilization: at every joint in the human body there are varying degrees of motion between the adjoining bones, for numerous reasons these segments can lose mobility leading to stiffness and pain. A large portion of PT training is developing the ability to not only detect dysfunction but in gradually improving that motion in the joint.
- High-velocity, low amplitude thrust (HVLAT): the essence of this treatment is taking a joint to its end range and applying a quick stretch to the joint capsule. This can often lead to a cavitation (“popping” or “cracking”); although the cavitation often feels good and is satisfying, it is not needed to get a therapeutic effect.
- Stretching: if a shortened tissue is discovered stretching can be effective in reducing pain.
- Neurologic techniques: there are a number of treatments that address an amplified neurologic response, in essence these techniques “trick” the brain to release its guarding mechanisms.
- Exercise: What!? The ‘E’ word? Controlled studies consistently show that appropriate exercise is one of the most effective tools in treating pain…emphasis on appropriate.
- Education: probably the most underestimated yet most effective components to pain reduction is understanding where it is coming from and often a few tweaks to your daily activities can yield huge reductions in pain.