Chronic Pain: What is it and what can help me manage it?

 Most of us think of pain as a result of an injury, surgery or trauma or other conditions. We expect it will last a short time and eventually go away. This is Acute pain. 

However, for some, the pain doesn’t go away and lasts beyond the expected 3 months. Often there is an increased pain experience, not just in the area of injury, but also in surrounding tissue or nerves. It can also exist without a clear reason at all. This ongoing type of pain is called chronic pain. It is estimated that one in three Australians live with chronic pain. 

Everyone’s experience of pain is different. This is because pain is complex – how we perceive pain involves an interaction between our mind and body. This interaction involves the nervous system and other factors, such as genetics, culture, thoughts, previous pain experiences, stress and what was happening in our lives when the pain started.

Physiotherapists are highly skilled professionals able to assess you individually, to help identify the type of pain you are experiencing, such as nerve pain or mechanical pain and find the approach which best helps you manage your pain. Interventions which can help include the following:

Education about chronic pain, pain management strategies such as pain diaries pacing activity, distraction, mindfulness and the chronic pain cycle; Pain often results in inactivity which can cause stiff joints, weak muscle, poor fitness, fatigue, weight gain and low mood. It also helps you become less anxious about your pain.

Acupuncture & Advanced Dry needling can help modify pain and allow gentle exercises.

Manual Therapy, gentle passive joint movements and soft tissue treatment, can ease tension in your tissues

Very gentle exercise help improve your activity without increased pain. Tai Chi or other exercise can help your body learn that movement doesn’t result in pain.

Electrotherapy such as TENS can help you manage pain without medication.

Useful web page; http://chronicpainaustralia.org.au/

PhysioRESOLVES has 20 years’ experience in helping people with chronic pain and uses a variety of treatment approaches outlined above, to help you manage your pain. Call 0435 087650.

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