What is Chronic Pain?
Pain is the body’s normal reaction to an illness or injury. Pain is designed to let you know whenever something is wrong. Typically, when the body has healed, the pain will subside and things should return to normal. However, in some cases, the brain can continue to send out pain signals long after the illness or injury is gone. If you have pain that lasts from 3 to 6 months or more, you could be dealing with chronic pain. When a person has been hurting day after day, it is common to experience not only physical pain but emotional distress as well. Luckily, physical therapy is ideal for treating chronic pain symptoms. This safe and non-invasive pain relief method is designed to target the root cause of your pain quickly and without the use of prescription medication. Be sure to contact our physical therapist today to learn more about the benefits of physical therapy for chronic pain.
Common Causes of Chronic Pain
Research shows that nearly 80 percent of all adults will experience chronic pain at some point in their lives. In the majority of cases, chronic pain symptoms occur in the musculoskeletal system. Chronic pain can be caused by a number of different conditions and injuries including the normal aging process, workplace injuries, compression fractures and much more. Some of the most common causes of chronic pain include:
Lower back pain is one of the most common reasons that patients seek medical advice each year in the United States. Many people may experience a back injury as a result of a workplace injury, sports injury or due to a degenerative disease like sciatica. Low back pain can make it difficult to complete everyday tasks and if left untreated could lead to more severe health complications.
Studies also suggest that more than 90 percent of American adults have reported a history of headaches. With chronic headaches, it is common to experience a headache that can last anywhere from 2 weeks and up to 3 consecutive months. Typically, tension headaches are the result of stress but other common causes for chronic headaches can include eyestrain, nervous system triggers, enlarged blood vessels and more.
One of the most common reasons that patients visit our physical therapist each day is due to chronic pain associated with joint pain. In many cases, chronic joint pain is the result of the natural aging process but it can also be caused by injury, illness or some type of infection. Some of the most common causes of joint pain include rheumatoid arthritis, tendinitis, inflammation, and repetitive motion injuries.
Nerve pain can result from a variety of different issues but typically stems from some sort of musculoskeletal condition. Anytime that the nerves in your body become damages, strained or compressed they can cause acute or long-lasting pain symptoms. Common conditions that can result in chronic nerve pain include sciatica, diabetic neuropathy, degenerative disc disease, carpal tunnel syndrome and postherpetic neuralgia.
How Does Physical Therapy Work to Treat Chronic Pain?
Our experienced physical therapist utilizes a number of safe and non-invasive physical therapy techniques to help relieve chronic pain naturally and prevent future injuries. We begin by evaluating each individual patients to create a personalized treatment program that targets the root cause of your pain. From there, we will guide you through flexibility and strengthening exercises that are designed to ease your discomfort, provide fast pain relief and increase mobility.
Manual therapy techniques make it possible for our physical therapist to use gentle hands-on manipulations that move soft tissues and joint structures to reduce and manage pain. Other treatment methods may involve the use of heat, electrical stimulation, body mechanics instruction and posture awareness.
Schedule an Appointment Today
If you or a loved one is living with chronic pain, physical therapy provides a safe, effective and prescription drug-free healing option that is ideal for people of all ages. Don’t let one more day pass where you are limited by your chronic pain symptoms. Instead, call our offices today to schedule an appointment with our highly-skilled and friendly physical therapist and learn more about how a tailored physical therapy program can help you start on the road to recovery!
How Physical Therapy Can Relieve Your Fibromyalgia Pain
Most of us can deal with a little pain. We may have the occasional ache from overdoing it at the gym or a twinge from bumping our shins on the bed, but most of the time we can ignore it, take an anti-inflammatory and go about our day. But when pain is widespread throughout your body and is accompanied by fatigue, changes in mood and sleep patterns, you may be dealing with a more serious physiological condition. Sound familiar? Call us to find out more about your symptoms and get a jump start to recovery.
What is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a term used to describe a group of symptoms. Typically, a person who is experiencing debilitating fatigue, tender areas of the body, changes in mood or muscle pain can be diagnosed with this condition. While it is unclear what causes fibromyalgia, some believe the pain is due to an overactive sympathetic nervous system, the part of the body that activates the fight or flight response. Many people first experience symptoms after a physically or emotionally traumatic event. Others begin having pain after bouts of chronic stress or depression while some have symptoms that build over time. Fibromyalgia tends to affect women more than men and if you have a family member with the condition, you are more likely to experience it as well.
How is Fibromyalgia treated?
Since it is not a disease but a cluster of symptoms, there is no known cure for fibromyalgia. Instead, medical practitioners focus on treating the symptoms with medication. Often, if the sympathetic nervous system can be regulated with medication, the pain subsides. Doctors typically prescribe a combination of pain medications, antidepressants or anti-seizure medications to achieve this type of regulation and relieve symptoms. However, none of the typical treatments address the loss of function widespread pain often brings.
The Physical Therapy Solution
Even though fibromyalgia cannot be cured, one of the most effective ways of managing your symptoms can be found in the physical therapist’s office. Studies have shown that cardiovascular exercise together with postural strengthening activities not only relieve widespread pain, but also increase energy levels, improve sleep and elevate mood. Through the course of treatment, it is possible to balance the body’s ability to regulate nerve impulses, in turn alleviating your symptoms. Typically, physical therapy services will include four interrelated parts.
One of the best ways to alleviate widespread pain is through low-impact movement. This may include walking on a treadmill, water aerobics, or other exercises aimed at improving blood flow, reducing stress and increasing cardiovascular fitness. Your physical therapist will prescribe an exercise program designed for your abilities.
Muscle Strengthening & Range of Motion
When you are in pain, your natural tendency is to guard the area, or limit its movement out of fear of causing pain. This limited range of motion can weaken important muscle structures that further limit your range of motion and increase your pain levels. This vicious cycle can only be broken by working to strengthen weakened muscles and return range of motion to the area you have been guarding. But, how do you do that when you are in pain?
Pain Relieving Modalities
A physical therapist has a host of tools in their belt aimed at relieving pain without medication. These may include the use of ice, heat, trigger point therapy, stretching, massage, electrical stimulation, or other therapeutic tools that can help limit your pain and retrain your body. Together with targeted exercise and a cardiovascular training program, it is possible to retrain your body to send and receive accurate signals without triggering widespread pain.
Regardless of where you are on your journey, it is possible to have relief from your worst symptoms through physical therapy services. Contact us today at our Bedford, NH center, around the greater Manchester area, for more information or to schedule your evaluation and find out how we can get you on the road to recovery.