People tend to have two mindsets when experiencing pain: push through and wait for it to go away or visit the family doctor. However, some injuries won’t go away on their own and fall outside the realm of a general practitioner. Physical therapists specialize in issues with muscles, joints, and tendons and can help improve strength and mobility to treat pain at its root cause. Here are six signs it’s time to find a physical therapy clinic near you.
You Experience Ongoing Pain
If you experience an injury and have ongoing knee pain, physiotherapy should be on top of your priority checkups. Generally, a small muscle tear or pull will only hurt for a few days. Ongoing pain indicates a deeper issue. The pain you experience may not be related to a specific injury. For example, if you often have neck tension or lower back pain, a physiotherapist can create a program to help.
You Experience Pain During Specific Movements
Repetitive strain injuries (RSI) are common in people who play sports or do repetitive tasks at work. Some of the most common recreation-related RSIs occur while playing golf or tennis. Some of the most common career-related RSIs occur in hair styling, manufacturing assembly, and computer work.
Similarly, if you only notice a sharp pain when you move a certain way, it could indicate an impingement or nerve issue. In any of these cases, a physical therapist can diagnose and treat the problem with a specialized physio who will give you an accurate diagnosis presented in a way that you can understand.
You Rely on Pain Medication
Unfortunately, some physicians will prescribe pain medication without diving into the underlying cause. In recent years, the prevalence of treating symptoms rather than causes has been a point of contention. Similarly, if you regularly take anti-inflammatories or acetaminophen (Tylenol), you’re potentially doing more long-term harm than good. Talk to a physical therapist to start treating the root cause of your pain. Taking this step is crucial if you’re starting to build a tolerance to your medication.
Rest and Recovery Aren’t Working
If you experience an injury while at the gym or engaging in physical activity, the first recommendation is to rest and recover. You’ve likely been told to ice or heat the area and to keep it elevated if possible. While these recommendations are great, they’re meant to be short-term. If rest and recovery aren’t helping, it’s time to see a physical therapist. Most minor injuries or tweaks should pass in a week or two at the most. The injury is likely worse than you thought if the issues are persistent.
You Can’t Perform Physical Activities
If your pain or lack of mobility is starting to limit you from performing physical activities, you should see a physical therapist as soon as possible. Movement and exercise are essential for overall health. Physical therapy and a chiropractor can significantly improve mobility and reduce muscle aches or strains. If your issues are preventing you from golfing, walking, lifting weights, or whatever your preferred exercise may be, seeing a specialist is integral.
You’ve Broken a Bone
If you suspect you’ve broken a bone, you should see a doctor immediately. A doctor can order X-rays to confirm the diagnosis and provide a treatment plan. However, you should consider seeing a physical therapist after your bone has healed. It’s natural to experience compensations or dysfunctional movement patterns that affect your range of motion and mobility. Work with a physical therapist to get back on track.
Physical therapists can help you build strength and mobility while treating the root cause of your pain. Keep these signs in mind if you’re dealing with a persistent injury.