You wake up in the morning with a sore back, and reach for the Ibuprofen. It’s such a normal habit these days for people to treat preventable aches and pains with over-the-counter medicine and not think twice about it. Pain relief has become an expectation of instant gratification for most of us, and we don’t even consider that pain is our body’s way of communicating to us that there is a problem. Everyone wants pain relief; however, pain relief is supposed to be an effect of addressing the cause of the pain. Taking medication to numb it only masks the symptom. It doesn’t treat or cure the underlying issue, which is truly where anyone who is looking to feel physically better should begin.

Before you go buy another bottle of pain medicine, consider investing in the long-term health of your body and getting to the root of the problem. Seeking physical therapy, no matter how old you are, or your physical state, except for a few conditions, is one of the best things you can do for your body. Physical therapy is a form of conservative care that works to prevent the risk of injuries and other ailments caused by working the body in ways it shouldn’t be worked. Physical therapy should be your first step in finding and managing a routine that helps you move freely, and achieve the desired pain relief.

Another benefit of physical therapy is speeding up the process of recovery from existing injuries, which will in turn, require you to need less pain medication for pain relief. Working the muscles and stretching the tendons and ligaments keeps them strong and flexible so that they don’t tear when stretched. After an injury, even when everything is tender, and movement seems like the last thing you want to do, the injured part of the body still needs to be exercised, and physical therapy can assist in that process. A physical therapist will teach you specific exercises for the areas of your body that need strengthening, build a routine for you to follow, and motivate you to continue the treatment by monitoring your progress.

You don’t necessarily have to be elderly or injured to reap the benefits of physical therapy. Preventative care is even more important than treatment of preexisting conditions. If you can avoid doing the things that cause the problems in the first place, you won’t need treatment, and this is where physical therapy comes in. Periodic visits to a physical therapist results in an awareness of your body’s tendencies, movements, risks, and other factors, paving the way for a more agile body, and a more productive and healthy life.

Although many people still don’t know about the benefits of physical therapy, it’s becoming more and more prevalent as information spreads and the public becomes educated about the vast possibilities that stem from it. A life free of medical intervention and invasive surgery is highly attainable and readily available.