You're Not "Just Getting Old."

It always amazes me when my patients come in hurting and have assumed for days, weeks,

months, or years that their pain was just part of “getting old.” They assume that it won’t get

better, and it is something they must live with. This is a myth. Pain isn’t what happens when we

get old, pain is a warning sign. It is your body’s way of communicating to you that something

isn’t right. As PTs it is our job to figure out what that is and help you get back to life with less

discomfort and more fun!


1 in 5 Americans (20.5%) report having pain either most days or every day [1]


This is crazy! That means that someone in your circle of friends or family is likely in pain every

day and it’s very possible they don’t have to be. Musculoskeletal conditions like back, neck and

shoulder pain are some of the largest contributors to opioid use, depression, poor sleep, lost

productivity/work, financial trouble, and overall decreased quality of life. Addressing pain and

discomfort now can make sure you never go down that path.


The statistics show that people are out there dealing with this pain that begins to limit daily

activities, sleep, work, and the activities they love to do. I have encountered a recent abundance

of patients coming into my office with pain they have been putting off addressing for way too

long. I can’t tell you how many patients leave after their appointment and say, “I wish I had done

this years ago!” There are many misconceptions about injury, recovery and physical therapy that

keep patients from starting.


Common reasons patients avoid addressing their pain:


"My pain wasn’t bad enough.”

Maybe your pain was easily manageable with Ibuprofen or Tylenol or maybe your pain wasn’t super limiting because it only occurred at certain points throughout the day. I'm here to tell you pain is pain! Symptoms commonly start as small aches and pains before progressing towards much bigger issues. Pain is our body’s way of signaling to us that there is something wrong. It is important to address the issue, no matter how mild it may be, as soon as it arises, so that it will not progress into unmanageable pain.


"I was waiting for the pain to just go away like it usually does."

This strategy typically never works. Pain is designed to alert us of potential damage and protect us from injury. Intermittnent flare ups of pain are a sign that there is underlying dysfunction throughout the body, and it will continue to occur erratically if the root cause is not addressed. Often times, the end result of waiting is a more serious injury down the line.


"I didn't think I had time for physical therapy."

Precision Performance & Physical Therapy uses an individualized, one-on-one approach to treating your pain each visit. This allows for increased quality of care and requires less weekly visits. We are flexible with your schedule and work to customize your home exercise program, so that it is time-efficient and manageable with your schedule. It does not have to be extremely time consuming. Small changes can make a big difference in pain!

"I thought I could just use Dr. Google to fix it."

Dr. Google has been working hard doing house calls! However, there is a lot of very misleading information out there on the Internet. Not every injury or pain is the same. Everybody is different and causes of pain can be very different. It is important to get a proper evaluation by a licensed physical therapist before starting new exercises you found online, because some exercises can cause further increase pain and injury.


"I thought I had to see a physician first."

In the state of Georgia, you can begin physical therapy without seeing a physician first. You can see a physical therapist for 8 visits or up to 21 days before having to obtain a script.


"It's too expensive."

Physical therapy is a much cheaper alternative when compared to medication prescriptions, imaging, potential surgeries, and return trips to the MD. Also, some insurance companies may reimburse you for physical therapy visits. Your health is the most important thing you can invest in!


"I already exercise."

Physical therapy is not just exercise! We use many hands-on, manual therapy techniques, including joint mobilizations, soft tissue mobilization, myofascial release, dry needling, and cupping. We also work on neuromuscular re-education and provide education for patients on how to maximize their function and decrease pain. PT also consists of prescribing very specific exercises to address the impairments that we find with testing. The exercises you are currently doing are great, but they may not be specifically addressing the impairments that could be contributing to your pain.


There are options. You don’t have to live in pain!


If you are experiencing pain, give physical therapy a try! We find that physical therapy often leaves patients shocked with its positive results. Some patients have been told time and time again that they will continue to have pain if they partake in certain activities or that pain is just a normal part of aging. These statements are simply not true! In most cases, it is entirely possible to continue doing the things you love without pain. Physical therapy utilizes many forms of manual therapy, education, neuromuscular re-education, and corrective exercise to minimize your pain, improve function, help you return to activities you love, and prevent it from returning again!


Physical therapy is more than just to help relieve your pain, but it can also prevent pain, too! We are trained to perform functional movement screens, gait analysis, strength testing, and many more tests and measures that allow us to identify risk factors or impairments that can cause pain and injury later on. Identifying and correcting impairments such as muscle strength imbalances, range of motion deficits, or dysfunctional movement patterns can help prevent pain or injury in the future!


If you are experiencing pain on a daily basis, this is your sign that you should do something about it! Research shows that treating pain as soon as it appears helps prevent chronic pain.


Don’t ignore your pain, it's time to do something about it!


References:

1. Yong RJ, Mullins PM, Bhattacharyya N. “Prevalence of chronic pain among adults in the United States”. 20 April 2021, Pain. DOI: 10.1097/j.pain.0000000000002291