For those who suffer from chronic pain, the battle can feel endless. With an estimated 116 million Americans dealing with chronic pain every year, finding effective and safe treatment is essential to each of these individuals (ChoosePT). In this post, we examine the cause of chronic pain and discuss the variety of ways that physical therapy can help to relieve it.
Chronic pain is any pain that lasts for over 3-months. Unlike musculoskeletal pain (“pain in the muscles, bones, ligaments, tendons, and nerves” [Healthline]), chronic pain can be a lot more difficult to diagnose. “Chronic pain is likely not warning you of possible injury or danger; 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” (ChoosePT). Given this close connection to the brain, patients can suffer from pain when no obvious injury or ailment is present.
The Signs & Symptoms
While the source of chronic pain can vary greatly from patient-to-patient, the symptoms are more consistent. Patients often complain of feeling pain everywhere, sharp stabbing pains, worsening pain when you think about it, spreading/moving pain areas, and depression/anxiety (ChoosePT). According to ChoosePT, the signs of chronic pain include the following:
- Chronic pain can cause fear about increasing the pain if you worsen the injury, and it can cause you to avoid activity overall.
- The fear of moving will cause you to lose mobility through weakened muscles.
- Decreased circulation.A constant lack of activity will affect your body’s circulation which leads to fatigue and loss of energy to complete daily tasks.
- Weight gain and/or a worsening of other conditions.Not surprisingly, a lack of activity can lead to weight gain, which when combined with a sedentary lifestyle, can aggravate other health issues (i.e., diabetes, high blood pressure, depression, etc.).
- Increased use of medication.Patients with chronic pain can have the tendency to increase their pain medication in an effort for relief.
As you can see, lack of movement is a big aspect of chronic pain, so seeking physical therapy is a great course of action.
When patients with chronic pain seek out physical therapy to aid in their recovery, they can expect their Physical Therapist to help them in a variety of ways which can include:
- Education on what causes chronic pain and teaching you methods for how to manage it.
- Exercises to improve overall strength and flexibility.
- Manual therapy/hands-on techniques to relieve tightness, increase range of motion, and improve tissue quality.
These are just a few examples of how a Physical Therapist will work with you to manage and heal your chronic pain symptoms.
When you come to Optivus to seek treatment for chronic pain, your Physical Therapist will work closely with you to identify your unique needs and capabilities. Our conservative approach to recovery will ensure that you are comfortable throughout the entire process and that you recover at a pace that is tailored to your unique situation. Begin your journey to recovery today and request an appointment with one of our caring Physical Therapists.