The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the use of physical therapy and other non-medication modalities in the treatment of chronic pain. The use of non-invasive and non-medication based treatments are considered safer and better ways of managing different pain conditions. This recommendation aims to curb the increasing rates of opioid overdose and other associated disorders, which the CDC found alarming. In recent years, the CDC has noted an alarming opioid epidemic, where millions of pain sufferers are prescribed with opioid by their respective physicians.
Physical therapy: First-line treatment to chronic pain
Physical therapy and other non-drug therapy are advocated as the first-line treatment for chronic pain. Aside from helping relieve pain experience, movement-based modalities help improve quality of life and overall function. Numerous studies have shown how physical therapy is particularly helpful in relieving pain conditions such as fibromyalgia, chronic back/neck pain, knee and hip osteoarthritis.
Unlike drug-based medications, physical therapy doesn’t work instantaneously. It is a methodical approach to treating the cause of chronic pain. Physical therapy often requires several sessions before pain is alleviated. While the result is not immediately experienced, sufferers are better able to understand their body, the cause of pain and how movement can reduce the pain experience.
The goal of physical therapy is not solely to relieve pain but to help patients face their fear of pain and be more active in dealing with it. That is a far cry from the instantaneous pain relief that medications provide. In a broader sense, physical therapy helps increase the pain threshold of an individual. And as they become actively involved in the treatment process, they are more willing to try movement exercises, be more functional, and live a normal life. This certainly is where success is.
But physical therapy is not just a first-line treatment. It can also be employed for patients who have developed intolerance to high-dose pain medications or those who are weaning off from pain medications. Physical therapy proves to be essential in chronic pain conditions where medications are unable to treat.
MPS combined with physical therapy for better results
As with other chronic pain modalities, not all pain conditions can be manage by physical therapy alone. In many cases, it is used alongside other alternative, non-drug-based modalities, which are preferred by pain specialists because of their safety.
Micro current Point Stimulation (MPS) is a chronic pain modality that is commonly used in combination with physical therapy. An integrative therapy, MPS uses modern understanding of the biochemical activities of cells and tissues, and acupuncture theories that were developed and used some thousands of years back. Studies have shown that MPS can help reduce inflammation at the cellular level and relieve chronic pain. In this modality, MPS is delivered tp target points using a battery-powered handheld device. The very low DC micro current resets the nervous system resulting in a relaxation of muscles, calming of the nervous system, improved circulation, and release of ‘feel-good’ hormones (endorphins).
A recent report has shown how using MPS alongside physical therapy can dramatically improve chronic pain relief. Participants in the study were divided into two groups. The first group received only physical therapy while the other group received a combination of MPS and physical therapy. The results showed that those who received MPS and physical therapy had greater pain reduction.
What makes MPS a perfect adjunctive treatment to physical therapy is its portability. Chronic pain sufferers can easily apply this to pressure points in their body. No need to wait for the physical therapy session. As such, the healing process becomes continuous.
It is also important to note that MPS does deep healing (cellular and tissue level) while physical therapy treats functional disorders brought about by chronic pain. When used together, MPS and physical therapy create wellness and a quality life.