Chronic pain is pain that lasts more than several months (variously defined as 3 to 6 months, but certainly longer than “normal healing”). It’s a very common problem. Recent clinical studies suggest the following:
- About 25.3 million U.S. adults (11.2 percent) had pain every day for the previous 3 months.
- Nearly 40 million adults (17.6 percent) had severe pain.
- Individuals with severe pain had worse health, used more health care, and had more disability than those with less severe pain.
- People can suffer with chronic pain in many areas of the body. Often a history of multiple injuries from childhood through adulthood can be a contributing factor to Chronic Pain
Problems Associated with Chronic Pain
Patients that are experiencing chronic pain often have some or all of the following:
- Fear of performing daily activities
- Tightness and stiffness
- Increased use of pain pills
- New or worsening conditions
- Circulation problems
Physical therapist directed treatment can help chronic pain patients in the following areas:
Patient education - physical therapists help chronic pain patients understand that chronic pain is complex involving more than damaged muscles, tendons, ligaments, and joint tissues. Emotions, depression, anxiety, nervous system hypersensitivity, tissue damage, and pain caused in the brain are all components of chronic pain that may be addressed by
Manual therapy or hands-on treatment can play a major role in controlling pain and preventing or minimizing “flare-ups” of pain that prevent you from doing the things you want to do.
Trigger points in the muscles or connective tissue, muscle “holding” due to tension and joint restriction in the spine and joints are common causes of episodes of pain that limit your life.
Manual therapy techniques can release these areas and provide more ease of movement and decreased pain.
Modalities such as ultrasound, electrical stimulation or laser treatment can decrease inflammation and help you get over flare-ups faster.
Posture and body mechanics instructions - understanding how to properly lift, sit, bend, reach, and perform specific daily activities can help. Moreover, progressively recovering normal movements through stretching and strengthening can assist in the return to normal daily activities.
Many of our patients come to us periodically throughout the year for a “tune up.” This can prevent problems before they get too severe or help you get over a period of increased pain quickly.