Do you have ongoing soreness that inhibits your activities? Are you stoic about the problem, continuing to try to perform normal activities while ignoring the discomfort?
Millions of us are walking around this way, missing one vital piece of information. When chronic pain is involved, a little physical therapy could go a long way.
We’ve already explored the concept of Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) in my column. It’s the kind of soreness you experience after doing muscle work that your body isn’t used to doing. It defies your regular workout activities. It takes 48 hours to really hit its stride. DOMS should fade and disappear after a few days. When the soreness lingers and takes up residence in your body, it is no longer a case of DOMS. It might be time to explore the help that physical therapy can deliver.
When an injury is allowed to hang around without therapy, it can become a chronic problem. Your body begins to adapt to the injury by compensating. That means you might limp, rely on the opposite side to perform the majority of a movement, or avoid the movement of that area completely. The injured area shirks activity and becomes even weaker than before.
If you wake up in the morning so stiff that you’re not sure how to get out of bed, if you stiffen up after sitting, feel discomfort while performing daily activities, or rely on over-the-counter, anti-inflammatories, you would probably benefit from a consultation. There is so much help available through physical therapy because it is based on a very specific evaluation of each person’s physical problem.
A PT program is usually recommended through a doctor for a few times per week, lasting for a month or two. After that, participants are released from PT and given home exercises involving stretching and strength training. In addition to a normal workout program, the home exercises are just a few, simple movements that ensure that the healing continues and the muscles can do the work they were intended to do.
It’s one thing to feel a little sore after doing something you don’t normally do. It’s something else all together when you begin to limit your activities because of the soreness or you begin to rely on anti-inflammatories to mask pain. If you find yourself in this situation, remember that your doctor can point you to a physical therapist that will have you up and running in your normal way in less time than you might imagine.