Chronic Pain Relief
Get Rid of Those Persistent Pains Once and For All With Physical Therapy
Is your persistent chronic pain limiting your physical abilities? If so, physical therapy treatments can help you find some relief.
Pain is a respectable physical response that lets us know when there is something wrong with our bodies. For example, if you accidentally touch a hot stove top, your immediate reaction is to pull your hand away. Your brain recognizes the pain that the hot stove top causes, sometimes even before you realize it yourself. Your brain knows that if you keep your hand on that hot surface any longer, there is a possibility that you may sustain a serious injury.
However, sometimes pain occurs outside of the traditional realm. Sometimes, our bodies may feel pain due to an underlying condition that we have no control over. When we experience pain, it can linger for hours, days, weeks, or even months. When pain persists for three months or longer, it is categorized as “chronic pain.” If you have been suffering from chronic pain and you are seeking relief, contact The Fit Institute (TFI) today to schedule an appointment with one of our physical therapists.
Chronic vs. acute pain – defined:
Acute pain can be defined as a temporary pain that usually goes away on its own within a few hours, days, or weeks. Our previous example of touching the hot stove top and then pulling your hand away quickly would be considered an example of acute pain, because the pain would likely subside shortly after you pull your hand away. An additional example of acute pain would be if you were to accidentally sprain your ankle and needed to wear a brace for a few weeks until it healed.
Chronic pain can be defined as a persistent pain that lingers for 3-6 months or longer, despite efforts to alleviate it. Chronic pain is the most common reason why people seek medical help, and there is a vast variety of reasons why it may occur. If you are suffering from chronic pain may experience limited mobility, anxiety or depression, a dependence on prescription drugs, and/or an overall impact in your quality of life. While this can be frustrating and debilitating, physical therapy can help relieve the pain.
Why does chronic pain occur?
Most chronic pain cases are rooted in the musculoskeletal system, which consists of your bones, muscles, joints, and connective tissues. Any type of pain you experience – whether it’s a headache, back pain, joint pain, nerve pain, etc. – can become chronic if it lasts for three months or longer. Some of the most common reasons why chronic pain occurs are:
- Overuse Injuries. Your gait, posture, stance, and the ways in which you work or exercise can all take a toll on your body if you are not careful. Overuse injuries are common conditions that develop when part of the body is used in excessive repetitive motions over a period of time. Most overuse injuries occur when improper techniques are used, causing an abnormal strain on the affected body part. When this happens, your joints and muscles can become damaged, thus resulting in chronic pain. Physical therapy can help you learn how to properly move your body in your everyday life, in order to avoid overuse injuries.
- Accidents. According to a 2016 statistic found by OSHA, workplace injuries happen to approximately 2.9 out of every 100 employees. A study published by the journal Pain also states that 21% of people involved in motor vehicle accidents develop chronic, widespread pain in the weeks following their accident. While this pain won’t go away on its own, seeking the help of a physical therapist can help in alleviating it. Any accident can lead to chronic pain, whether it occurs in the workplace, in a motor vehicle, or even in your own home. PT treatments can help provide relief for any accident-related chronic pain.
- Surgery. Unfortunately, surgical procedures are sometimes unavoidable. When surgery is necessary to correct a certain painful condition, the recovery period itself may prove to be just as painful. Surgical repair of an area on the body may be enough to correct a structural problem, but we often compensate in our movement for the pain we experience. Weeks, months, or even years of compensatory movement often causes additional pain after surgery, if said movement is not corrected. Physical therapy offers both pre-surgical and post-surgical rehabilitation services that can help relieve pain, speed up recovery time, and reduce the risk of developing chronic pain in the future.
- Disease. There are a large variety of diseases that can lead to chronic pain, including multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, neuropathy, arthritis, and diabetes. The chronic pain experienced from these conditions can range from dull to severe, but it can be managed or even alleviated completely with physical therapy.
How does physical therapy relieve chronic pain?
Physical therapy has proven successful in treating cases of chronic pain. Our physical therapists are movement experts who are equipped in diagnosing and treating physical problems. They will assess any underlying structural causes surrounding or contributing to your pain, and will conduct a thorough physical evaluation before designing a treatment plan. Your physical therapist will examine areas of your body that are weak, out of balance, or have a limited range of motion. By doing this, your physical therapist can isolate the true cause of your chronic pain and determine the best course of treatment for your specific needs.
Treatment plans for chronic pain will likely include manual therapy to relieve your pain, decrease scar tissue, and improve movement. It may also include targeted exercises to increase strength and stretching to improve your balance. Your treatment plan will incorporate in-clinic treatments, as well as at-home treatments, in order to ensure that you are remaining healthy and active at all times. If you are looking for chronic pain relief, contact The Fit Institute (TFI) in Chicago, IL to schedule an evaluation with one of our licensed physical therapists. We can help get you started on the right track toward long-lasting pain relief!