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Ask the PT: Arthritic Back Pain

Westchester Physical Therapy for Arthritic Back Pain

Hello WSPT,

I live in Yonkers and I suffer with rheumatoid arthritis in my back. My physician is recommending that I take certain pain medications in order to cope with this pain but I’m scared that I will become addicted to this pain medication. How can physical therapy help me avoid going on medication for life?


Dear Marisa,

Thank you for asking! It is wise to consider physical therapy over pain medication to treat arthritis. While it is correct that certain medications can reduce your pain, physical therapy can offer the same relief and more without the risk of addiction. Choosing this option will not only treat your ailments, but work directly with your physical therapist to learn how to best manage your rheumatoid arthritis outside of therapy. In order to do so, you will need to stimulate your muscles, joints, and bones through exercise. Ultimately, this will help you live a healthier and more active lifestyle. By safely pushing yourself with a physical therapist, you will be able to have healthier joints, something that is very valuable as you become older.

Another benefit of physical therapy is that it can give you the power to deal with rheumatoid arthritis even when you are not in physical therapy. Despite pain medication helping rid yourself of the problem by dulling the pain, it does not work with you to figure out the best way to treat the source. Physical therapy is a two-way street by working with you and having you be an integral part of your own recovery. You will not only be doing the exercises but learning them as well as others that you can do at home. Physical therapy offers you something that pain medication is not able to, independence. Your physical therapist will explain what they will be doing with you so you understand how you will recover.

If you believe physical therapy can help manage your rheumatoid arthritis, consider visiting us at Westchester Square Physical Therapy. We have two offices in the Bronx and one in Yonkers with experienced professionals dedicated to help you resume your lifestyle pain free.

Speak with you physician to see if they agree that physical therapy can help and ask them for a prescription.

Thank you,

Daniel Seidler, PT

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