“Time is not a cure for chronic pain, but it can be crucial for improvement. It takes time to change, to recover, and to make progress.” – A Day Without Pain
Chronic pain not only hurts physically, but it can also affect us mentally and emotionally. Over time, chronic pain saps our motivation and strength. Left untreated, it can result in depression and a defeating sense of hopelessness that our condition will never change.
But the good news is that there is hope.
Thinking About Alternative Approaches
There are a number of restorative therapies that include different approaches for treating pain. These can include the use of heating pads or ice packs, focused exercise, and physical therapy.
In addition to helping reduce pain, they are beneficial for improving movement and flexibility, which can help you maintain mobility.
Here are the main therapies for working with chronic pain:
Your healthcare provider may recommend physical therapy as a first option for pain treatment. Ideally, the physical therapist will take you through a series of modalities to treat the suspected areas of dysfunction. commonly used physical modalities including superficial and deep heat, cold, sound, electricity, mechanical forces and light.
In addition, the practitioner will also equip you with exercises to perform at home to preserve and improve strength and mobility.
In addition to specialized exercises provided by a physical therapist, more typical physical activities can also help reduce pain and increase mobility. These can include activities such as walking, swimming, or cycling. More strenuous physical exercises such as weight lifting or contact sports should probably be avoided.
Professionals can ease pain by relaxing tense muscles and joints, which can relieve stress and anxiety. One source relates that,
“Massage therapy helps relieve tension and stress, aids in easing muscle and joint pain, improves sleep and provides many other benefits that can help alleviate the symptoms of chronic pain.”
Dealing With the Mental and Emotional Toll of Chronic Pain
There is much more involved with chronic pain than physical discomfort and distress. There is a very real mental and emotional toll that results from dealing with pain long term.
According to the health education site, This Is Pain,
“Chronic pain can have a significant impact on more than just physical pain, such as relationships, self-esteem, and the ability to function at work. The goal of caring for your mental health is to improve the pain experience and restore function by addressing the cognitive, emotional, behavioral, and social factors that contribute to the stress of pain.”
There are specific behavioral therapies to help with the impact of chronic pain. These can include emotional awareness and mindfulness, or other behavioral interventions.
The underlying issues that drive these mental and emotional symptoms are the very real stress that is caused by the body reacting to pain and the often overwhelming sense of resignation that the pain will never go away.
Considering More Traditional healthcare Approaches
Most people will go to their family doctor or healthcare provider once they determine that their pain doesn’t seem to be “going away” and that they are not healing. And the most common response from the medical practitioner is to recommend interventional approaches.
Interventional approaches such as an ultrasound can be noninvasive and can often help identify the source of your pain. Once this happens, your doctor can decide on the best treatment for you.
Other interventional approaches include procedures such as nerve blocks, which stop the pain signal to the brain, or steroid injections such as cortisone, which reduce inflammation and swelling.
The downside is that most interventional approaches are short-term treatments that do not necessarily correct the underlying cause of your chronic pain.
Lastly, there are medications available for treating pain. There are both over the counter (OTC) and prescription drugs and their efficacy can vary greatly. Also, every medication has inherent risks and benefits, so it is important to ask questions of your healthcare provider before deciding on a medication approach.
Common OTC drugs that can also be prescribed include acetaminophen and NSAIDs such as ibuprofen. In some cases, doctors will also suggest drugs such as anticonvulsants, antidepressants, musculoskeletal agents, antianxiety medication, and even opioids. All of these medications require medical oversight and the advice of a healthcare professional.
While some patients with chronic pain may feel that they need prescription medications, they should be considered a last resort along with invasive surgery.
Considering the Pain and Performance Solutions Alternative
The good news is that if you are suffering from recurring or chronic pain, Pain and Performance Solutions can help.
One approach we often rely on is known as Active Release Technique ®, or ART®. We start by conducting a physical exam. After a diagnosis has been determined based on your history and our examination, a suitable treatment can be applied.
ART® is generally performed with a direct contact with the patient’s skin. We will find the area to be worked on and either have you actively move a body part or passively move the body part. The entire treatment consists of over 500 specific moves that can be employed and are unique to this therapy technique. These give us the ability to identify and correct the specific problems causing the chronic pain in your body.
There Is Hope for Relief From Chronic Pain
We know that, with time and patience on your part, it is possible to bring relief from pain. Our overall goal is to identify why and how your pain exists and then correct it with as little discomfort as possible, so you can return to life without fear of it returning.
Contact us now at (707) 636-4404 or use our online booking form to set up a consultation and an office walkthrough. At the end of the day, we are here for you and to help you achieve a happy and healthy life.