[This piece was written by Beth Yoxthimer, PT, certified pain specialist with the Integrative Chronic Pain Program, St. Peter’s Health Partners.]
Chronic pain is highly prevalent in the United States, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reporting more than 50 million adults currently living with chronic pain. It is one of the most common reasons adults seek medical care, and has been linked to increases in anxiety, depression, and dependence on opioids.
Chronic pain can interfere with your day-to-day work and recreational activities, and it may have a profound effect on your ability to concentrate, relax, and live your best life. Physical therapy for chronic pain offers a variety of treatment options that can be a critical component in the effort to manage your pain.
The process typically begins with the physical therapist reviewing your overall medical history and performing various tests to get a sense of any impairments contributing to your pain, including bilitation. Physical therapists then help treat pain through movement, hands-on care, exercise, and patient education.
Part of the education process is developing, with the patient, a toolkit for managing pain, one that includes:
- Regular exercise for strength and mobility
- Learning how to utilize ice and heat for symptom relief
- A focus on mental wellness
- Recognizing when pain medication is needed, while minimizing opioid use
SPHP’s Integrative Chronic Pain Program was created to increase an individual’s level of daily functioning and endurance while decreasing his or her need for medication. The structured outpatient programs are designed to decrease pain, improve quality of life, and teach participants valuable, life-long pain management skills.
In addition to traditional physical therapy, the program features a holistic approach where participants have access to:
- Nutritional education
- Nutraceutical education
- Mental health screening
- Therapeutic exercise
- Aquatic therapy
- Integrative manual therapy
- Home transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) units
- Relaxation techniques
- Referrals to complementary practitioners
- Access to counsellors for complex pain patients with histories of sexual or physical abuse
The program is offered at two convenient locations:
Clifton Park Physical Rehabilitation
648 Plank Road, Suite 101, Clifton Park
East Greenbush Physical Rehabilitation
2 Empire Drive, Suite 202, East Greenbush
Support groups for those living with chronic pain also meet the first Tuesday of every month from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Clifton Park office, and the third Tuesday of every month from 5 to 7 p.m. in the East Greenbush office.
Your pain and your abilities are unique and personal. The right physical therapy team can work with you to find tools to ultimately help you move, feel, and live better.