September 2014 – “Don’t Let Aches and Pains Set You Back”

How often have you experienced an ache or a pain and thought to yourself, “It’ll go away with time” or ask others “do I need to see the doctor for this?”  And how many times did the nagging pain continue without relief? As much as we may wish it, we cannot simply “will the pain away.” We all live busy lifestyles, and as I mentioned in my column last month, we don’t have time to be broken down by pain. Yet, small aches can be a sign of an even larger issue arising, or even lead to other complications. Don’t ignore them, especially when there are many local resources to help you take the next steps toward recovery.

So – how do you know if there is an underlying issue? Fortunately, physical therapists are trained in recognizing early signs and symptoms of injuries involving muscles, bones and all of the surrounding tissues. The wonderful thing about our beer and cheese-loving state is that we have Direct Access to physical therapy. What does this mean? It means you have a choice in who you want to be seen for physical therapy, and it is not required for you to see a physician first to be evaluated. This also means with the rise in healthcare expenses, you can avoid paying money for medical care that isn’t even needed. If you are experiencing pain for several days, you can literally self-refer yourself to a physical therapist and become educated on the best treatment plan for you. Being an expert in muscle and joint care, coordination or connection with the appropriate medical professionals may take place if there is something identified that needs more than physical therapy, and you will be assisted and educated on this entire process.  And unlike common misconceptions, physical therapy is so much more than massage and stretching. Your physical therapist will tailor a treatment plan specific to your needs, and include an exercise regimen to help train your body how to avoid further or re-injury.  Physical therapy may be a simple solution to move ahead with injury recovery, or the first steps in identifying the total care you need for your ache or ailment.

Some practices, such as my own, will also offer short complimentary injury screens to determine if physical therapy is right for you. By catching injuries early on before they turn into a larger problem, the recovery process can be rapidly sped up. Think about it – if you could avoid being on light-duty at work for 2 months or being out of the game for a few weeks because you saw someone the moment you felt something was wrong, would you?

If you are struggling with aching and tired bones, a potential muscle strain, or just aren’t sure why the ibuprofen is working anymore, contact your local physical therapist for more information and next steps – we are ready to help! We are here to educate you on how to live life to its fullest and pain-free. Taking action and addressing the issue now can keep you moving forward, and not set you back.