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Is Physical Therapy Meant to Hurt?

Is physical therapy supposed to hurt? That’s a valid question, and one that we’d all like to have the answer to. After all, it’s a very common question, and the answer might surprise you. Pain during physical therapy is an inevitable part of the healing process, but it’s also a natural response to the activity. While a therapist will be trained to minimize pain, some people experience soreness after physical therapy. In these cases, it’s important to take pain medication or call a doctor for advice.

Your physical therapist will use a pain scale to gauge your pain. If your pain exceeds 10 or 15 on that scale, you should immediately seek emergency care. Fortunately, your therapist understands pain control and will encourage you to report any pain within the zero to ten pain scale. If you’re unsure, ask your therapist to demonstrate some exercises to make sure you’re comfortable. Otherwise, you may end up feeling worse than when you started.

Although physical therapy should not hurt, it is important to know that it’s a necessary part of the recovery process. While some physical therapy exercises are painful, it’s not considered to be “bad pain” when performed by a trained physical therapist. In fact, many physical therapists consider soreness to be a natural part of the process, as it can help you build stronger muscles. If it’s bothersome, the therapist will make it less painful or modify the exercise.

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