When To Consider Consulting A Physical Therapist For Chronic Pain
Pain is a normal sensation that signals your body to take action. It can come on as a result of injury, degeneration, or a medical condition. There are many reasons why you might need a visit to physical therapy. But how do you know when you should take the next step?
1. Sudden Onset Of Pain
The sudden onset of pain, particularly in the spine, can signal that you have an underlying condition. A physical therapist can evaluate your symptoms, determine the root cause of the problem, and develop a treatment plan. In many cases, acute pain from an injury or illness will go away once the underlying cause is treated or healed. However, if your pain persists for longer than you expect it to, it could be chronic pain. The type of pain you experience will impact the way you think about visiting the physical therapy office. Knowing the difference between acute and chronic pain can help you identify when it’s time to call your doctor or emergency medical services for treatment.
2. Decreased Mobility
Mobility loss can occur for a variety of reasons, including an injury, illness or weakness. This condition can impact a person’s ability to walk, eat and dress. Often, this condition is a major source of pain and can also lead to social isolation. The sudden loss of mobility, especially in older adults, can be a warning sign that a patient is developing serious health issues. This could indicate a need for a visit to the physical therapy office to assess the condition and prescribe a treatment plan.
Swelling is a normal response of the body to injury, inflammation and cellular damage. This is a good thing because it protects the area from further injury by sending fluid, white blood cells and other chemicals to the injured area. But, swelling that lasts for a long time or is excessive may be a sign of a more serious medical condition. The underlying cause of the swelling should be treated promptly to relieve discomfort and prevent further issues. Your physical therapist will evaluate the area to determine if you have a strain or a more severe muscle injury. They will look at the area and feel it to see if there are any divots or bruising that indicate an injury.
4. Loss Of Appetite
If you find yourself hungry but having a hard time eating, it’s not uncommon to feel this way. However, it could also indicate a problem. It’s important to see your doctor as soon as you notice this problem, especially if it lasts for longer than a few days or is related to an illness. If your decreased appetite persists and results in malnutrition, it can cause serious complications.
5. Muscle Weakness
When the brain signals a muscle, it usually contracts (or makes muscle movements). But when a disease or illness affects your brain, nervous system, muscles, or their connections, your body may not contract normally. Fortunately, most cases of this type of weakness are reversible. If you have persistent muscle weakness, especially if it gets worse over days or is localized to one area of your body, it could be a sign of a serious health condition like a stroke or spinal cord injury. A physical therapist can help you find the cause of your weakness and develop a treatment plan. In the process, they’ll take a look at your symptoms, medications you are taking, and family history. They’ll also conduct a physical examination and search for patterns of your weakness and other abnormalities.
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