How Physical Therapy Can Help Live a Pain-Free Life

By | October 30, 2018

By Caroline Lieberman, Physical Therapist

Living pain-free is crucial to quality of life.

The ability to move without pain can impact a person’s ability to participate in – and simply enjoy – everyday activities, earn a living and experience independence. People often associate pain management with medication treatment plans. Reliance on opioids has led to the worst drug crisis in American history. Physical therapy is not only a healthy alternative to opioids for pain management, but can improve a person’s life-long health mentally and physically.

Physical therapists are experts in the science of movement and mobility. They provide hands-on care and patient education to optimize quality of life for their patients. They provide care across a wide range of conditions and diagnoses including back pain, dizziness and falls, post-operative knee and hip replacement, post-concussive injury, stroke, COPD exacerbation, incontinence, coronary artery by-pass surgery, muscle strains and sprains. Physical therapists and physical therapy assistants diagnose and treat existing health conditions and also provide patient education, customize plans of care and preventative treatments that can help people avoid many health problems before they occur.

The goal of physical therapy is to restore health so that patients can manage their symptoms and prevent future issues on their own, thus not having to return over and over again for treatment.

Physical therapy is not a “quick fix” but rather a steady road of dedication and determination to the overall mission of being well, getting well and staying well. Physical therapy increases a person’s physical activity, which helps reduce risk of falls or developing other chronic diseases. Research also shows that moderate-to-vigorous exercise can reduce the risk of cognitive decline by 36 percent.

Physical therapists combine extensive education, clinical experience and the latest research to create treatment plans tailored to a person’s specific needs and goals. They work collaboratively with the entire medical team to ensure patients receive comprehensive care, communicating constantly with MDs, PAs, RNs, CNAs, care managers, respiratory therapists, teachers, orthotists/prosthetists and many other health professionals across the entire spectrum of care.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) urges healthcare providers to reduce the use of opioids in favor of safe alternatives, like physical therapy, for most non-cancer-related chronic pain management. If you have nagging injuries or suffer from chronic pain, consider how physical therapy can help you achieve a pain-free life.


Caroline Lieberman, PT, DPT, MS, is the Manager of Inpatient Physical Therapy at Mission Hospital.

Mission Health sees patients for physical therapy in each of our settings including hospitals, outpatient clinics, people’s homes, Cancer Center, Mission Children’s Reuter’s Center and Care Partners Inpatient Rehab Hospital. A physician’s referral is not required to make an appointment with a physical therapist for an evaluation. Learn more about physical therapy at Mission Health at missionhealth.org/orthopedics.


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