What is Chronic Pain?
May 11, 2021 –
You’ve been diagnosed with “chronic pain”. Now what? This blog will discuss what chronic pain is, how it is caused, signs and symptoms, treatment, and expectations.
Chronic pain is any bodily discomfort that lasts for more than three months or beyond normal healing time for that particular condition. Chronic pain can cause brain changes. When pain is constant or chronic it causes the nervous system to be on “high alert”, causing more sensitivity to pain. This can cause cells in the nervous system to be on high alert which makes the brain interpret normal sensations as “painful”. This cycle allows a person to stay in a constant or chronic state of pain. The brain’s job is to protect you from potentially harmful sensations, but with chronic pain the brain reacts to non-harmful stimuli in a negative way making the individual feel like something is really wrong when actually nothing is torn or broken.
Common complaints include:
- “everything hurts”
- Sudden stabbing sensations of pain
- Pain may “have a mind of its own”
- Symptoms can appear even if you are not doing anything to cause them
- It feels worse when thinking about it
- It feels worse when you go through upsetting or stressful events in your life
- You may feel more anxious and depressed
- Symptoms may feel like they are spreading from one area to another
- You may feel fatigued and afraid to do your normal activities
These complaints are common, but do not necessarily mean your physical condition is worsening. It may just mean your nervous system is sensitive.
Signs and symptoms can include:
- Body stiffness
- Decreased circulation
- Weight gain and/or a worsening of other conditions
- Feeling the need to increase medication use
How can physical therapy help?
The physical therapists at Witte Physical Therapy will work with you and educate you about chronic pain, find solutions about how to improve quality of life, and get you moving pain free again. Chronic pain is experienced differently for everyone and your physical therapist will tailor your treatment to meet your needs. Treatment may include education, strengthening and flexibility exercises, manual therapy, posture awareness and body mechanic instruction. Chronic pain does not happen over night and it will take some time for it to go away. The best thing you can do is be patient and trust that adhering to treatment with consistency will give you the best results.
For more information visit https://www.choosept.com/symptomsconditionsdetail/physical-therapy-guide-to-chronic-pain-syndromes#WhatIs or call the therapists at Witte Physical Therapy for more information.