Complicated / Chronic Pain
Complicated Pain Approach
When you have long term pain this is usually a result of many complicating factors that often don’t have a simple cause and effect. This can be a result of a spine injury, joint damage, failed surgery, an Automobile accident or an injury at work. You have probably been to several physicians and Chiropractors or Physical Therapists. None of this helped you long term, and you still have pain.
Much of complicated / chronic pain is a result of treating early symptoms only and not looking at all the processes leading to your current situation. Our Physical therapy approach is to look at biomechanical problems with your body. Things like joint alignment, posture, and joint mobility. This is more than Range of Motion. It is the freedom of the joints. Many people can compensate for poor joint mobility and still have good Range of Motion.
Then we need to assess your soft tissue problems. Your muscles, tenderness, skin mobility (myofascial mobility), scar tissue mobility (from Surgery) muscle spasms and trigger points. As you age or recover from injury you naturally loose mobility of your soft tissues. Our Physical Therapists can assess your soft tissue limitations and use special Manual Therapy treatments to free these up.
We also need to assess the limitations on your nerves. Many people with complicated / chronic pain have limitations in how their nerves function. You may now have excessive sensitivity as a result of long term stimulation of the nerves that perceive pain. You may also have problems with your balance as a result of this due to neuropathy (nerve pain in the arms and legs) and loss of proprioception (the ability to feel where your arms and legs are). We have specialized treatments to reduce your hypersensitivity, stretch your nerves (neural stretching) and regain your balance.
Activity levels are usually greatly reduced with complicated / chronic pain. This is simple human nature. When you are in pain you don’t want to move. This leads to a horrible and vicious cycle. It hurts so you don’t move which leads to more pain when you are active so your reduce your activity further, and so on. Before you know it even basic activities around the house are impossible. Our Physical Therapists will give you specific exercises to help your joint mobility, your posture, achieve balance, and improve your soft tissue and muscles.
However you will find any movement and increase in activity will help. You need to stop the bad cycle and start the good cycle. Contrary to what you might believe activity DOES NOT increase your pain. Activity will REDUCE your pain. The more you become active the less pain you will have. Let our Physical Therapists work with you to get you on the right track.
“ Attitude is everything”
Complicated / chronic pain takes a toll on a person. It can become very frustrating, and discouraging. It can take a toll on your work life, personal life, and your whole outlook on your future. You need to address these problems. If you struggle with this ask your Therapist for a referral to a qualified professional to help you develop a winning attitude.
Other issues that hamper the healing process
Alcohol, Drug and tobacco use can greatly contribute to ongoing problems. You need to take control of your life and not have external chemicals control your life for you.
Nutrition: You need to eat properly. Excessive weight mikes your recovery process more difficult. You also need proper nutrition to support the healing process.
“No pain No gain is a myth”
When dealing with Chronic / Complicated pain our Physical Therapists aim is to work up to your pain levels, not through them. We will use exercises and manual techniques that restore your function without increasing your symptoms. In the “Sports Medicine approach” to Physical Therapy the PT will push through the pain. This is opposite of the pain approach. The pain approach is to work within your tolerance levels to regain your ability to do the things that you want to do in your life.
“Patience is a virtue”
You didn’t get here over night, and you probably won’t get back to where you were over night. It takes time and guidance from your Physical Therapist. You will have up’s and downs. But in the long we will work with you to help you achieve your goals.