Physical Therapy

Treating Musculoskeletal Pain— Physical Therapy Vs. Other Treatments

Written by Nancy

In our previous blog posts, we discussed the physical and mental health benefits of scheduling regular physical therapy sessions, without going into the specifics.

Over the course of this blog post, we’ll compare the efficacy of musculoskeletal physical therapy to other commonly prescribed treatments.

Musculoskeletal Pain/Disorder: An Overview

Musculoskeletal pain/disorder refers to an injury to the muscles, tendons, bones, ligaments, spinal discs, or other soft tissues. In addition to being extremely common, musculoskeletal disorders are quite costly as well. In fact, the direct costs of musculoskeletal disorders amount to a staggering $20 billion a year, according to statistics. Moreover, they’re the leading cause of pain and disability in American workplaces.

Fortunately, MSDs are highly treatable and preventable with musculoskeletal physical therapy. But our question is: how does musculoskeletal therapy compare to other forms of treatments in terms of costs, efficacy and time of recovery? Well, let’s find out.

Musculoskeletal Physical Therapy

There’s an abundance of clinical research which supports musculoskeletal physical therapy as one of the most effective treatments for musculoskeletal disorders and pain. Just a single good session of physical therapy is enough to bring about a significant improvement in pain and function. Furthermore, physical therapy is a holistic and all-natural way of not only alleviating pain, but also speeding up the healing process.

Pain Medications

While pain medications can be even more effective than physical therapy at alleviating pain, they do nothing whatsoever in terms of helping you heal from the injury. They affect your nervous system and just block your ability to feel pain. Furthermore, there’s the ever-present risk of overdose and dependence associated with pain meds.

Cortisone Injections

Injected into the joints, spine and soft tissues, cortisone injections are another commonly prescribed treatment for musculoskeletal pain. Cortisone is an anti-inflammatory drug which can produce pain relief that lasts from a several days to a few months. While cortisone injections are popular for their great ability to reduce pain, they do nothing to heal structural damage. In fact, they’ve been known to impede structural healing. Price wise, cortisone injections can cost anywhere between $120 and $400.


Typically, surgery is considered the last line of defense for serious musculoskeletal injuries such as fractures, ligament tears, and arthritis. In some cases, however, musculoskeletal physical therapy is a more effective, less risky option. While surgery can provide instant improvements, it can be extremely costly, and there’s always the risk of infections and complications. In fact, many spinal surgeries have a high re-operation rate.

StarLife Therapy Services is one of Houston’s best physical therapy and rehabilitation Houston clinics.  They use a combination of the latest, state-of-the-art technology and innovative treatment methods to help patients overcome chronic pain and musculoskeletal disorders. Get in touch with them today for more information on their services or to make an appointment.

About the author


I’m Nancy and no, I didn’t always look like I do in that picture on the right. My foray into health and fitness began as a brace-faced, 16 year-old who was too afraid to wear a two-piece at the beach because I felt my body paled in comparison to my much more toned friends.

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