Physical Therapy for Pain Management


According to the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), a physical therapist is a trained and licensed medical professional with experience in diagnosing physical abnormalities, restoring physical function and mobility, maintaining physical function, and promoting physical activation and proper function.

As a physical therapist, the main focus is to help patients through restorative, management, and preventative stages of recovery. We aim to give you the tools to help restore function and movement. Physical therapy encompasses a multitude of treatment techniques including those pertaining to pain treatment.

Physical therapists play a major role in pain management through different types of therapies and techniques used daily. Various forms of exercise including strength, flexibility, balance, endurance, power, and agility are used to promote and restore normal function, but also as pain management.

As exercise specialists, we formulate a specific therapeutic exercise regimen using our extensive knowledge of pathology, kinesiology, and biomechanics. This can be applied to all common injuries and dysfunctions including post-surgical rehabilitation of knees, hips, shoulders, strokes, spine injuries, and work or sports related injuries.

Whereas, opioids only mask the sensation of pain, physical therapists can also treat pain through hands-on care. Techniques used include manipulation, joint and soft tissue mobilizations, dry needling, cupping, and others. This assists in on not only addressing the pain but focusing on the root of the issue.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued opioid prescription guidelines in March 2016 which recommends physical therapy as an alternative to prescribed opioids.

Before accepting prescription pain medication, it would be the best course of action to take a few minutes to talk with your doctor or qualified medical professional in order to ensure you are the making the right choice for your health and well-being. Early use of physical therapy holds the promise of reducing opioid use among patients with musculoskeletal pain.

Foothills Sports Medicine Physical Therapy has locations across the valley, contact the one nearest you to get your FREE pain assessment.


Lindsey Fonacier

PT, DPT | Tempe Location