Chronic Pain Relief
Healing and Chronic Pain
What chronic pain means is pain that is not resolving in the usual course of time and expectation based on the injury, surgery, or areas of involvement. Pain based on an injury will generally go through stages of healing related to three phases – acute phase which generally lasts for up to two weeks, tissue repair phase 2-4 weeks , and tissue maturation phase 4-8 weeks. These phases depend on the type of tissue injured since some tissues have different healing times, as well, post-surgical healing times can have longer phases. The point is much depends on a healing cycle of variable length and as this cycle progresses, pain fades and function improves on a fairly predictable basis.
With a chronic pain condition, the healing cycle occurred but there continues to be ongoing pain, or the surgery occurred and healing followed and perhaps even rehabilitation but ongoing pain remained. It can be a very frustrating experience since one cannot find the answers to their problem and their body is stuck in a chronic pain pattern. At times, one is left all to themselves to deal with the consequences with the results of treatment not being as successful as desired. One can find themselves using more pain medication or needing injections and pain management just to get through the day with no end in sight. Opioid use has been a big part of helping people in chronic pain cope but now has created another layer to a problem not needing any more complexity.
Diagnosis v. The Person
Chronic pain can have its roots in a car accident where the body experienced severe forces and left one with ongoing pain even though the healing cycle has concluded. Accidents of various types whether they were a fall, car or bike accident, or at times no huge event at all, their body just got into pain and it never left.
It would be presumptuous to imply PT can handle all ongoing chronic pain problems, but it can be said with certainty that treating the person and not the diagnosis is the starting point for an improved opportunity to get a positive outcome. All major joint areas can develop chronic or ongoing pain which affects a person’s ability to function and live comfortably. Probably the most common areas for chronic pain are related to the spine, especially the lower back and neck, although shoulder and knee pain are prone to this problem too and no joint area is immune. Trauma to an extremity joint is a good reason, like with a severe wrist fracture one can be left with residual pain and limited motion after healing.
Types of Chronic Pain
There are two basic types of orthopedic (muscle, joint, ligament, nerve) chronic pain. One type is where there has been a severe breakdown of an area or severe trauma to an area and despite the best of efforts nerve agitation and pain continue as one tries to move and more active. Here, someone may end up with a spinal fusion, or some type of surgery to provide stability, space, tissue repair, or joint replacement which are the more common reasons for orthopedic surgery besides fractures.
The other type is where pain is occurring due to ongoing compensation. As an example, the lower back can be compensating and so working harder to deliver the needed motion and power to overcome a deficit in another area. This is very common and often can be an overlooked reason for ongoing pain.
What is unloading?
Both situations are asking to be unloaded. Unloading means to improve conditions in surrounding but related areas which would either help an area not have to compensate as much or in the case of the sevre break down, spread the stress to related areas to help reduce the pressure on an area that cannot do its share of the work like it did before. Each case is obviously individual but these are general principles that have been effective in helping someone become more competent and comfortable in managing their unique situation.
Full Potential enjoys helping people who are experiencing chronic pain especially when they are ready to really invest themselves in the process of getting better by participating in their program and changing unconstructive habits that are pain perpetrators. There is a basic rule in how the body responds to stress, it is called FORM FOLLOWS FUNCTION. Movements and positions which protect the injured tissues and exercises which unload and protect the injured area can over time alter the form by improving the function. This is the basic body rule that can allow so much positive change to occur as one tries to recover from an injury or from chronic pain. As well, when using poor postures and movement habits, incorrect exercises or no exercise, the form (the injured area) will continue to deteriorate. The rule works both ways. Step one is getting an understanding of the problem.
We do free consultations which can provide an opportunity to understand the basis of your pain and its potential perpetrators. We can get an idea of how your form along with your pain is being affected by your function. Life is too short to live it in pain, call and schedule a consult today at Holland, MI for a better tomorrow.