Chronic pain affects each person experiencing it differently. In some cases, chronic pain can lead to decreased activity levels, job loss, or financial difficulties, as well as anxiety, depression, and disability. Physical therapists work together patients to lessen their pain and restore their activity to the highest possible levels. With treatment, the negative effects of chronic pain can be reduced.
What is chronic pain?
Chronic pain is any discomfort or unpleasant sensation that lasts for more than 3 months – or beyond an expected normal healing time. Often, those who have chronic pain believe they have an ongoing disease or that their body has not healed, when this is unlikely the case. Instead, the pain centers in the brain may be causing you to hurt even though there are no new causes of pain occurring in the body. The brain continues to interpret all sensations from the problem areas as danger, even when there is no more tissue damage occurring. Pain messages come from many different areas of the brain – areas that may control flight or fight reactions, movement, emotions, problem solving, and learning. Almost any system of the body and anyone at any age can be affected by chronic pain.
How does it feel?
The symptoms of chronic pain vary with each individual. How often it occurs, how severe it is, or how long it lasts is not predictable from one person to another. Here are some common symptoms:
- “everything hurts, everywhere”
- sudden stabs of pain
- “has a mind of its own”
- feel symptoms even if you nothing is causing them
- feels worse when you think about it
- feels worse when you experience upsetting circumstances in your life
- anxious and depressed
- spread from one area to another
- afraid to do your normal activities
How can physical therapy help?
Our therapists educate you on your specific type of chronic pain, find solutions to improve your quality of life, and get you moving again. We help you improve movement, teach you pain management strategies, and reduce your overall pain. We design an individualized treatment plan that fits you best with exercises that help strengthening and flexibility, improve coordination and movement, reducing stress and strain on your body. Carefully introducing a graded exercise program will help train your brain to sense the problem area in your body without increasing its danger messages. Manual therapy is also used to increase range of motion, improve the quality of the tissues, and reduce pain.
Posture awareness and body mechanics will help you use your body more efficiently for everyday activities, even at rest. We can help adjust your movements at work, or when performing chores or recreational activities, to reduce your pain and increase your ability to function.
Don’t ignore pain. Research shows that treating pain as soon as possible helps to prevent chronic pain. Early intervention is everything so call us for a free consultation!