Can A Physical Therapist Help With Chronic Pain?

Chronic pain is persistent pain that lasts for at least three weeks in any part of your body that’s either constantly there or may come and go (recurring). The greatest impact of chronic pain is on everyday life- at home, work, school, or anywhere else where mobility and physical function are impaired. Chronic pain can also affect one’s mental health, leading to depression, anxiety, etc. Therefore, you should seek immediate treatment for this condition. What sort of treatment is appropriate?

You have several options to treat chronic pain, but one tested and trusted treatment option is physical therapy. This non-invasive and very effective treatment method is our focus in this article. Read along as we discuss how a physical therapist at FYZICAL Therapy & Balance Centers—McKinney Coit can help with chronic pain. 

Causes of Chronic Pain

You may develop chronic pain due to several factors. Some of the most common causes of chronic pain include:

  • Medical conditions and injuries: Traumatic events, such as motor accidents or falls, can cause injuries that may lead to chronic pain. Due to complications, you may develop chronic pain after undergoing surgery. Chronic pain can also result from underlying medical conditions, such as musculoskeletal disorders, neurological disorders, etc. 
  • Biological factors: Changes or alterations in an individual’s biology, such as nerve damage, inflammation, and certain genetic predispositions, can lead to chronic pain. 
  • Lifestyle and environmental factors: An individual’s habits and other external factors can contribute to the development of chronic pain. Individuals who have poor posture or do not perform physical activities (sedentary lifestyle) are more likely to develop chronic pain. Occupational hazards may also cause chronic pain. People whose jobs require heavy lifting and repetitive movement can develop chronic pain. Exposure to adverse environmental conditions can also contribute to chronic pain.
  • Psychological factors: While chronic pain can cause psychological problems, it can also be a result of psychological factors. Stress and anxiety from the daily rigors of life can increase your perception of pain and contribute to chronic pain. 

These are some of the general causes of chronic pain. Chronic pain can be due to a single factor or a combination of different factors, depending on the kind of condition.

Types of Chronic Pain Conditions

Chronic pain cuts across several conditions caused by injuries, illnesses, and medical issues. A chronic pain condition causes recurring or stable pain lasting more than three months. The following are the most common types of chronic pain conditions:

Musculoskeletal Pain

The musculoskeletal system comprises bones, joints, muscles, ligaments, cartilage, tendons, and connective tissues. All these parts work together to provide support and structure for the body. However, injuries and other medical conditions may attack the musculoskeletal system, causing substantial damage and severe pain. Some of the most common musculoskeletal conditions that cause chronic pain include: 

  • Osteoarthritis: This musculoskeletal condition is a degenerative joint disease that causes the tissues in the joint to break down over time. Osteoarthritis affects older people, and it causes severe joint pain, stiffness, and even disability. 
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Fibromyalgia: This is another disorder that causes musculoskeletal pain. While the exact causes of fibromyalgia are not known, this condition persists for the long term, causing pain and tenderness in the body.

Other musculoskeletal pain conditions include sprains, strains, muscle cramps, spasms, osteoporosis, dislocation, and chronic back pain in McKinney, TX

Headaches and Facial Pain

Facial pain and headaches are achy or burning sensations in the face, jaw, and head. This condition may be due to nerve issues, jaw or dental problems, and infections, leading to recurring pain that may last a very long period. Some of the most common facial pain conditions that cause chronic pain include:

  • Migraines: A migraine is a headache that causes severe, throbbing, and recurrent pain at one or both sides of the head. Migraines may be accompanied by other symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound, reducing an individual’s overall quality of health. 
  • Tension headaches
  • Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJD): The temporomandibular joint is a sliding hinge joint that connects the jawbone to the jaw. Dysfunction of this joint leads to TMJD, a chronic condition that causes severe pain in the jaw joint and surrounding muscles, which may radiate to other face parts. 

Neuropathic Pain

Neuropathic pain is a kind of pain that occurs due to a malfunction or damage to the nervous system. When the nerves carrying sensations to the brain become damaged, you may feel severe pain. Usually, nerve pain feels different from other kinds of pain, occurring in any part of the body (some body parts more often than not). Some of the most common chronic neuropathic pain conditions include peripheral neuropathy, complex regional pain syndrome, postherpetic neuralgia, etc.

Post-surgical Pain Syndrome

This condition refers to the pain that a patient continues to feel after a surgical procedure. Post-surgical discomfort can last for a while, depending on the type of surgery or due to complications. The following are some of the most common post-surgical pain that may result in chronic pain conditions:

  • Post-operative pain: Generally, all surgical procedures cause acute pain for some time. However, post-operative pain may become chronic due to tissue damage, nerve injury, other complications, and psychological factors.
  • Phantom limb pain: Amputations involve the removal of a limb, and this is a surgical procedure. However, some people may perceive pain in the amputated limb due to psychological factors and changes in the central nervous system. 

Roles of Physical Therapy in Managing Chronic Pain

Physical therapy is a healthcare profession that promotes, maintains, and restores physical health through several techniques. This noninvasive treatment method relieves pain while improving one’s ability to move, function, and live better. 

Physical therapists in McKinney, TX, treat pain and try to identify the source of pain to prevent recurring pain. Therefore, physical therapy is one of the best treatment options for chronic pain. Unlike medication therapy and some other treatment interventions, physical therapy does not have side effects or lead to further complications. Physical therapists employ a combination of various treatments to ensure the effectiveness of orthopedic rehabilitation in McKinney, TX

How Does a Physical Therapist Address Chronic Pain?

Physical therapists have several techniques at their disposal to address chronic pain and its causes. The following are the things you can expect when you see a physical therapist for chronic pain:

Initial Evaluation

This stage is the first step that a physical therapist will take. Your physical therapist performs a comprehensive evaluation to find out necessary medical information about you and determine the severity of your situation, the cause of your pain, and the goals you intend to achieve. The initial evaluation stage may involve some physical tests and medical examinations.

Personalized Treatment Plan

Your physical therapist will curate a unique treatment plan that aligns with your treatment needs and goals based on the results of their evaluation. A physical therapy treatment for chronic pain may comprise several treatment techniques, depending on the cause of pain and for effectiveness. Some of the possible treatment techniques or methods that your physical therapist may employ for your chronic pain include:

Manual Therapy

Manual therapy is a hands-on physical therapy technique used to treat musculoskeletal pain. It is a passive treatment that can only be effective when skilled practitioners, such as physical therapists, apply it. Examples of manual therapy techniques that you may undergo include massage therapy, soft tissue manipulation, joint manipulation, and myofascial pain release. 

Therapeutic Exercises

This physical therapy treatment refers to a series of movements and activities that physical therapists design and recommend for pain relief, better mobility, and improved physical function. The type of exercise your physical therapist recommends depends on where you feel chronic pain. Common therapeutic exercises include aerobic, strengthening, and stretching exercises. 

Passive Therapy Modalities

These refer to other passive pain management techniques that promote pain relief and improved motion. Examples include heat or cold therapy, ultrasound therapy, dry needling, electrical stimulation, etc.

These and many more physical therapy treatment methods work together to relieve chronic pain, improve mobility, and enhance physical function. 


Chronic pain is a common condition that affects an individual’s overall quality of life. It causes severe discomfort, limits mobility, and affects physical function. While there are several treatment methods for chronic pain, most options are invasive and ineffective. Fortunately, physical therapy is a non-invasive treatment method that treats and manages chronic pain effectively. Therefore, you should seek physical therapy treatment at FYZICAL Therapy & Balance Centers – McKinney Coit if you suffer from chronic pain.