Chronic pain is a condition that occurs when the brain concludes there is a threat to a person's well-being, based on the many signals it receives from the body. Any discomfort or unpleasant sensation that lasts for more than three months is considered chronic pain. This condition can and often does occur independently of any actual tissue damage, and can last beyond normal healing time. Often times, those who have chronic pain believe they have some sort of ongoing disease, or that their body has not healed completely or properly, when this may not be the case. Anyone can develop chronic pain, at any age.
What can your physical therapist do?
Your physical therapist will work with you to educate you on chronic pain, find solutions to improve your quality of life, and get you moving again! Your therapist will help you improve movement, teach you pain management skills, and, in many cases, reduce your pain.
Not all chronic pain is the same however. Your therapist will evaluate any clinical examination you have undergone and test results and design an treatment plan that fits your specific need.
These treatments may include:
Education: To improve your knowledge and understanding of chronic pain, how it occurs, and what you can do about it. Your therapist will teach you how to manage your pain and help you work toward performing your normal daily activities again.
Strength and flexibility: To help you move more easily and with less discomfort. Your therapist will design a program of exercises specifically for you. Movements that are gradually increased according to your abilities. These exercises will help you improve your coordination and movement, reduce the stress and strain on your body, and decrease your pain. These exercises can also help train your brain to sense the problem area in your body without increasing its danger messages.
Posture awareness and body mechanics: To help improve your posture and movement. This training helps you use your body more efficiently while performing activities, and even when you are resting. Your therapist will help you adjust your movement at work, or when performing chores or recreational activities, to reduce your pain and increase your ability to function without the pain.