Should Physical Therapy Be Painful?

Sep 13, 2023
Are you worried about starting physical therapy because you’re afraid it will be painful? Or are you currently experiencing pain related to the physical therapy services you are receiving?

Should Physical Therapy Be Painful?

Are you worried about starting physical therapy because you’re afraid it will be painful? Or are you currently experiencing pain related to the physical therapy services you are receiving? Some pain is a normal part of physical therapy. It may seem confusing or counterintuitive, because physical therapy is supposed to help relieve your pain, but the kind of pain associated with PT is different from the chronic pain you experience or the acute pain you feel after an injury or surgery. 

Should physical therapy be painful? Yes and no. A little soreness in the muscles is normal; however, if you feel sharp pain during physical therapy or have severe pain following a PT session, let your physical therapist know. 

No Pain, No Gain 

You’ve probably heard this saying at some point in your life, perhaps from a coach or a workout instructor. It has stood the test of time because it still rings true. In order to make progress, sometimes you have to push through the pain. 

But the important thing to focus on is the right kind of pain. After physical therapy you may feel some general soreness in your muscles, especially the ones you don’t often use. Sore muscles are a sign that you are getting stronger. In order to build up, muscle tissue must first be broken down, which is what happens when you push your muscles to work harder. Strengthening your muscles will help you to heal and relieve your chronic or severe pain. 

How to Relieve Muscle Soreness from PT

When your muscles are sore after a therapy session, stretching is one of the best things you can do. Stretch the muscles that are sore, even when it hurts to do so. Just make sure you are stretching correctly, using the methods your physical therapist has shown you. Don’t stretch too far or too aggressively. If you feel a sharp pain, immediately stop the stretch. You don’t want to do more harm than good by stretching or pulling too hard. 

Drinking a lot of water helps to relieve the muscle soreness as well. Hydration helps to flush out the lactic acid that builds up in your muscles and causes them to feel sore. You can also use a foam roller to massage your sore muscles and relieve the pain. 

Suspension Therapy Can Reduce Pain During Physical Therapy

One of the newest physical therapy techniques is suspension therapy by Redcord. Redcord therapy suspends the patient’s body on swings or slings that hang from above. It allows the patient to isolate just the body part that needs to be worked, relieving the tension and possible pain in other parts of the body. Suspension therapy has helped patients accelerate their healing time and have a more comfortable experience with physical therapy. 

Physical Therapy Should Relieve Your Pain, Not Cause It

Many patients seek out or are prescribed physical therapy due to chronic pain. Pain in the back, neck, shoulders, hip, knee, ankle, foot, and more can all be relieved with the help of physical therapy. Chronic pain is often due to muscle weakness, an old injury that never healed properly, or an underlying condition. Physical therapy is one of the best ways to cure chronic pain because it targets the source of the pain to heal and eliminate it. It doesn’t mask the pain like medication does. This is why physical therapy is often a permanent cure. 

Relieve Your Pain with Manhattan Physical Therapy

Should physical therapy be painful? Only in the right way. When you first start physical therapy at Manhattan PT and sometimes after subsequent therapy sessions, you will experience some soreness in your muscles. That is to be expected and is perfectly normal. However if you experience sharp or acute pain that doesn’t subside with rest, you should contact us and let us know what you’re experiencing. PT is meant to help, not make matters worse. But it does require hard work. Sometimes you need to push through the pain to make progress. Just be sure you have your physical therapist there to make sure it’s the right kind of pain. 

Are you looking for a physical therapist who can help relieve your pain and get stronger? Call (212) 213-3480 today or contact us to schedule a consultation. We look forward to helping you relieve your pain and keep it away.