The Role of Social Media in Pain Management
by Brooke Smith, PT, DPT, FAAOMPT
AZOPT Goodyear Clinic Manager and Doctor of Physical Therapy

Often in the clinic, I hear patients tell me “I really thought my pain would just go away,” or “I looked online, and it said to do…fill in the blank.” Admittedly, I am guilty of this, at times, too. Sometimes, the pain will just go away without any medical intervention. Other times, pain can be fixed with a few quick stretches, exercises, and brief modifications. But what happens when the pain persists even after doing nothing, or doing minimal?

First, let’s talk a bit about the many different ways pain comes about. Sometimes, pain is caused by a traumatic event, but it can also arrive gradually over time or from pathological reasons. As you know, everyone is different, and this goes for pain, too. The pain YOU experience differs based on your own past experiences, current/past medical history, previous injuries, posture, and life experiences. Not all pain is the same, even if it is in the same location as someone else’s pain. And that’s what makes it challenging to address pain with generic online exercises.

For example, you have knee pain. This root cause of the knee pain can come from the meniscus, medial collateral ligament, referral pain from your back, referral pain from your hip or SI joints, or caused from weaknesses and mobility issues above or below the joint, and so on.  All of these factors affect and change your pain.

When pain is musculoskeletal by nature, using social media, friends and family, or the Internet as a start to improve pain is okay. These options are fast and much more cost effective than your physician or physical therapist. The downside – these options lack a specific, individualized assessment and treatment of YOUR pain. Try not to blame the exercise or online professional for their failure in reducing your pain because these generalized programs do not address your root cause of the pain you experience.

When the Internet and home remedies fail, it is time to schedule an evaluation with a licensed physical therapist. Why? Because a physical therapist is an expert in everything musculoskeletal, and will address your specific pain by evaluating your whole body to identify the specific causes of your pain and developing a comprehensive and personalized treatment plan. If further imaging or evaluating is needed, your physical therapist will know which specialty doctor to refer you to.

Furthermore, a licensed physical therapist is able to perform manipulations of spine and extremities, dry needling, taping, cupping, manual “hands on” therapy, and other beneficial modalities. We provide corrective exercise and stretches specific to each individual to help better improve your impairments. We understand that one person’s “normal” is different than another’s, and are educated to address the impairments, causes, and pain that will help you return back to your normal.

So if your pain “just hasn’t gone away” like you thought, and advice from the Internet or friends has not worked, contact AZOPT for a full evaluation or free consultation, and let us show you how to get back to doing what you need and love to do.