How to Deal with Pain after Physical Therapy

Pain after physical therapy can happen, especially when you’re new to the process. But there are a few tips you can apply to manage the pain.

Pain after physical therapy tips

There are some instances wherein injuries are just too severe our doctors would have to recommend physical therapy. Well, this solution is actually undebatable. There are a lot of studies that could attest as to why physical therapy is a good choice for faster recovery. However, many people experience pain after physical therapy. Should you stop when this happens?

Pain after physical therapy happens often, especially when you’re new to the process. But there are ways for you to manage it.

What is physical therapy?

Physical therapy consists of different physical treatments to help treat an injury, improve an individual’s function, and even better one’s wellbeing. This approach usually uses massage, heat therapy, and various exercises. For some patients’ cases, doctors would recommend physical therapy instead of prescribing drugs and recommending surgery.

Over the years, physical therapy has been beneficial to the majority. It is no doubt that it did help save people. There are also instances wherein patients would ask the doctor if they could just undergo physical therapy instead of surgery. But what if after undergoing such treatment, instead of feeling better, you ended up feeling pained? Is that even normal?

After experiencing injury, we all do wish that it would just heal in one snap. However, that seems to be far from possible. Even physical therapy requires time too.

Often times, some patients complain about feeling sore right after physical therapy. And I believe you might have felt it too that’s why you’re here.

Well, physical therapy consists of different exercises. If you happen to have tried working out due to various exercises combination, then I think you might have an idea now why. Due to exercises? Exactly!

The soreness or the pain that one feels right after physical therapy is called delayed onset muscle soreness or it’s pretty popular with the term DOMS. Even athletes and gym goers experience DOMS. This is because DOMS affect muscles that have been used to execute strenuous and intense activities.

There’s no denying it – DOMS is actually really painful. And I get you a lot that you would exhaust all means just to get rid of the discomfort you’re feeling.

Generally speaking, DOMS from whatever kind of activity or therapy usually lasts for 24 to 48 hours only. But if you think you cannot endure the pain for this long, then we have some tips for you to at least manage it better.

Tip #1: Up your water intake

Isn’t it mandatory to stay hydrated after exercising? Well, this is because water contains electrolytes and these electrolytes are known to promote muscle recovery. If we try to think about it, water not only after exercises help. It is also advisable to drink water in between sets of every exercise. Aside from faster muscle recovery, it could also help you feel better as you finish the program.

Tip #2: Stay active

Sometimes, we only start to experience soreness when our body is finally at rest. Thus, keeping your body active by doing light to moderate activities could help make the soreness go away. You may even finish the exercises that your physical therapist has given you. By doing minor exercises, you can help reduce symptoms of DOMS.

Tip #3: Consider stretching

According to some studies, stretching a little could also promote muscle recovery. That is why most fitness experts would often suggest that a patient should conduct stretching or warm-ups before exercising. It is also advised to cool down by stretching after every workout or therapy. For physical therapy patients, there’s no harm in trying out stretching after every session to help ease the pain and the discomfort.

Tip #4: Ice the area

The discomfort that takes place right after physical therapy could necessarily just be the soreness on the muscles. So if a muscle is sore, it means it is inflamed. Having said, inflammation could go away when the affected area is iced. You can try to ice the area for about 20 minutes. It advised to continue doing it for as long as it is needed.


It is important to know that there is always “bad” and “good” pain. It’s always similar to how there’s always a “positive” side to every “negative” one.

So if one experiences bad pain due to injuries or whatsoever, we try to seek advice on how to get rid of the pain. This is why some doctors would recommend an excellent approach – physical therapy. Now that some people would question how feeling pained after physical therapy is possible, keep in mind that at least it’s always a “good” kind of pain.

Always try to look at the positive side that DOMS are just affecting the weak areas and that after physical therapy, your weak areas are only being strengthened that’s why it’s quite that painful.

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