Physical Therapy: An Answer to Chronic Pain Syndromes

Chronic pain is serious business, affecting more than 116 million Americans each year. While you may have tried addressing this neurological disorder with meds and visits to different doctors and therapists, a visit to a physical therapist is strongly recommended to round out your attack on this debilitating condition.

There are several forms and manifestations of physical pain, all of which can be treated and, hopefully, lessened by a visit to the pt. 

Acute pain is any pain lasting a prolonged but relatively short amount of time, up to twelve weeks in some cases. This is a period when your body is sending pain signals as a warning to change an activity or outside condition, such as posture, before real physical damage sets in. Many people pride themselves on their ability to withstand pain or to, "grin and bear it," but more often than not prolonged chronic pain could be avoided by seeking medical attention for your acute, but chronic, ailments. 

Chronic pain is a serious affliction of pain lasting longer than three months. Often chronic pain is a neurological disorder, sometimes occurring without any damage or injury to the body. Unlike acute pain, chronic pain may not even be a warning to change behaviors or treat damaged tissues and bodily injuries. It can be a little tricky to comprehend, but the brain and nervous system, in an effort to protect the body, go on high alert in chronic pain conditions and can cause pain sensations activated by the brain without any damage occurring in the body.

How Do I Know if My Pain is Chronic?

One sure sign of chronic pain is the amount of time you've been suffering. Anything longer than three months or an expected recovery time is likely chronic pain. Sufferers of the condition may describe the pain in any variety of ways, from stabbing to shooting to debilitating. Lethargy, inactivity, and depression often accompany chronic pain. If you suspect you might be suffering from a chronic disorder it's worth it to go to the physical therapist for advice in coping with your condition.

How can physical therapy treat a neurological condition?

Each instance of chronic pain is unique and your physical therapist will work with you to have a therapy approach specifically tailored for your condition. While chronic pain is no longer signaling the brain to make changes to behaviors or outside factors like acute pain, it can still be treated by making changes to your posture, habitual movement patterns, and outside factors as well as with manual therapy.

Your physical therapist can help you analyze how you are using your body in your day to day activities and can offer guidance in using your body in different ways to avoid painful movements. Physical therapists are experts in body mechanics and their advice on something as simple as walking differently or moving around your home or office differently could make a world of difference.

Manual therapy is also effective in helping reduce tension and increase flexibility in areas of your body that may have become neglected or hyper contracted in response to your constant pain. Changing how your approach your daily activities physically is a strong first step towards becoming pain free, but you still need to work out the effects of your battle with chronic pain to begin feeling close to healed and manual therapy is the answer.

Gradual increases in specific exercises tailored to help strengthen and stretch your afflicted body areas. Part of your pt's plan will include a series of exercises that will help you gain strength and flexibility in your body. Unfortunately one side effect of chronic pain conditions is often depression along with prolonged lethargy, resulting in stiff and weak body parts. As you work with our therapist and regain strength they will gradually increase and adapt the exercises until you are at your physical peak. 

If you think you are suffering from acute or chronic pain conditions then it's time to make an appointment with a therapist and see if there is something you can do about it. Don't be a hero; if you feel like you've been dealing with consistent pain that may become debilitating make an appointment before a chronic condition sets in. Likewise, if you've been dealing with pain for years there might still be an answer in physical therapy that you haven't explored yet.

While you may not be able to rid yourself entirely of a chronic conditions, chances that you can considerably lessen the pain by a simple and consistent routine of manual and physical therapy are extremely high.