What is involved in a physical therapy (PT) program for chronic pain syndrome (CPS)?

Updated: Jan 14, 2020
  • Author: Manish K Singh, MD; Chief Editor: Stephen Kishner, MD, MHA  more...
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Answer

A self-directed or therapist-directed physical therapy (PT) program, individualized to the patient's needs and goals and provided in association with occupational therapy (OT), has an important role in functional restoration for patients with chronic pain syndrome (CPS). [7, 23, 24]

The goal of a PT program is to increase strength and flexibility gradually, beginning with gentle gliding exercises. Patients usually are reluctant to participate in PT because of intense pain.

PT techniques include hot or cold applications, positioning, stretching exercises, traction, massage, ultrasonographic therapy, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), and manipulations. (According to a double-blind study, exercise groups have significant benefit over TENS.) Heat, massage, and stretching can be used to alleviate excess muscle contraction and pain. Other intervention should be offered to enable greater confidence and comfort when patients do not progress in a reasonable amount of time.


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