Mahir Reiss: Physical Therapy IS an Option for Pain Sufferers

When chronic pain affects you or your loved ones, finding relief can become your only focus in life.  No one understands that sense of urgency better than Mahir Reiss.

Mahir Reiss, co-founder of Reiss and Westwood Physical Therapy, has dedicated his life to helping patients suffering with pain.  With the use of up-to-date technology combined with a healthcare partnership between therapist and patient, Reiss is devoted to enhancing his patients’ quality of life.

With over 30 years of clinical practice experience, Mahir Reiss is considered to be a foremost expert in pain management through physical therapy.  He has been featured in numerous publications including The USA Herald, Gazers, Segment and Demagogue, just to name a few.

Reiss is happy to hear that the mindset surrounding physical therapy as a part of a patient’s healthcare plan is changing.  In the past, physical therapy was considered to be the last step in an often long treatment plan; often performed post surgically.  Reiss believes that it is becoming more apparent that in many cases physical therapy is just as practical of a solution as an invasive surgical procedure.


Giving a patient options and allowing them to make more informed decisions allows them to be in control of their health and wellness decisions.

The New England Journal of Medicine recently published a study confirming that choosing surgical procedures too hastily may not be in the best interest of the patient.  The study showed physical therapy to be just as effective in many patients who are suffering with such conditions as osteoarthritis and meniscal tears.

During the study, over 300 patients were given a plan of care that included either surgery or physical therapy.  Those given the therapy plan would be allowed to opt for surgery should physical therapy not meet their needs (some patients took this option). At the end of the study, the surgical group and the physical therapy group had amazingly similar recovery outcomes.  In conclusion, those patients who participated in physical therapy experienced just as much of a recovery advancement as those who had the invasive (not to mention, costly) surgical procedures.

Physical therapy is so much more than simply exercising specific body parts in order to reduce pain or expedite the recovery of surgery or injury.  Upon choosing physical therapy, a licensed physical therapist will judiciously analyze the needs of the individual patient in order to determine a comprehensive treatment plan.  Mahir Reiss and his professional team offer therapy services to promote:

•             Overall body health and wellness

•             A reduced need for the option of surgery

•             Reduced Arthritis pain

•             Spine rehabilitation

•             Chronic pain therapy

•             Balance and coordination training

•             Rehab for post-surgical patients

•             Nutrition education

•             Massage therapy

•             Aquatic therapy

Pain does not discriminate.  More and more children/teens are suffering from chronic pain. The journal, Pediatrics (July 2013) published the outcome of a study that targeted chronic pain among teenagers. The study noted that hospitalization in children/teen has increased tremendously. 23% of the admissions were due to some form of abdominal pain.  9% of the young patients were diagnosed with a form of nerve pain that affects the limbs known as reflex sympathetic dystrophy syndrome. Many admissions were due to the children/teens experiencing headaches, migraines and back pain. Chronic pain syndrome (pain experienced for longer than six months) was also noted to be a concern in our younger population.

Our geriatric populations are no strangers to the debilitating effects of pain.  Mahir Reiss regularly works with elderly patients who are experiencing pain and/or are in need of rehabilitation for such conditions as:

•             Arthritis

•             Osteoporosis

•             Cancer

•             Recovery from injuries as a result of a fall

•             Post Hip replacement surgery

•             Dementia (Yes, even dementia)

Patients with chronic pain and other health related issues often find themselves relying on prescription drugs.  Physical therapy can also be effective in reducing or eliminating the need for medications.  Using physical therapy to reduce inflammation, increase mobility and promote more physical activity in a patient is proven to reduce the symptoms which created the need for drug therapy.

So how can a therapist know how much pain a patient is truly experiencing?  No two people experience pain the same way. While some patients may have visible conditions that cause great pain (a broken leg for example) others often have no signs or symptoms of a physical problem, but are still experiencing tremendous pain. To find out a patients level of pain, practitioners rely on a pain scale.  This method of communicating pain levels is not only accurate but extremely important when dealing with children or patients with a cognitive decline.  Often patients will be asked what their pain is on a scale of 1-10.  For children and others unable to communicate with that method, there is also a visual scale in the form of cartoon faces depicting a range from 0 (happy) which indicated pain-free to 10 (crying/in distress) indicating the patient is in agony.

As an active member of such professional organizations such as the American Physical Therapist Association and the California Physical Therapy Association, Mahir Reiss is supportive of research and education that can enhance the field of physical therapy.  He explains that for many patients, chronic pain can have a great impact their ability to live a full and productive life.  Reiss believes that any time members of the health care community can find new solutions to this situation; it is a positive step for chronic pain suffers as well as the entire medical community.

If you or someone you love is experiencing chronic pain due to illness or injury, you may want speak to your doctor about the possibility of physical therapy as a means to getting back on the road to a happier, healthier life.

For answers to frequently asked questions regarding physical therapy, you can visit Mahir Reiss’ website.

Mahir Reiss is a graduate of Georgetown University where he received his undergraduate degree in biology. He continued his education at the University of Delaware’s Physical Therapy program. He currently practices in San Diego, California.