Our last article introduced the idea that there are different types of pain. As such, they have different treatment needs and will respond differently to physical therapy. We talked a bit about acute pain and how it affects your functioning. We also discussed briefly what you might expect in terms of recovery.
The next type we are discussing is chronic pain. Chronic pain is defined as pain that is persistent over time. Chronic pain can come from an identified source. Degenerative disc disease and progressive osteoarthritis are examples of this. Chronic pain can also arise from an unidentified source. Fibromyalgia, for instance. falls into this category. It also lasts over time. People with chronic pain have often had symptoms for many months, even years.
In chronic pain with identifiable pain generators (known tissue damage), you may be surprised to learn that (like acute pain) it too is affected by lack of exercise and deconditioning. moods and emotional states will also come into play. Pain can become worse when someone has depression or anxiety.
Therefore, like acute pain, chronic pain conditions can also be relieved, at least in part, by a carefully planned physical therapy program and interventions.
Pain with no identifiable generators (no known tissue damage) is far less understood than other types. Some strides have definitely been made in researching the care and treatment of people with those issues. It is believed that the nervous system itself possibly misfires. It informs the brain about injury that isn’t there. Once that happens, overcompensating with other limbs and joints that are not in pain can make the problem worse. This is also an area where we can help. We can work with you to move in ways that don’t cause further harm. We will also use our skills to decrease your pain.
Our next blog post will discuss neuropathy and how it can affect you and your recovery .