Chronic pain can be defined as pain persisting for 3 or more months. Statistics show that one in five Australians experience chronic pain at some stage in their lives.
Persistent pain can be very stressful and affects your quality of life in many ways. Handling work duties, household tasks, friends and family can be difficult when your lower back pain is all you can think about (more information about chronic lower back pain is here). Often people can have no control over their pain and are unable to put in place coping strategies.
Experiencing chronic pain can lead to feelings of anxiety and/or fear. Common thoughts will occur about the pain such as:
- What might be causing my pain?
- When will it go away?
- What does the future hold?
These feelings and thoughts are heightened for many people when there is no obvious cause. Pain can make you feel tense, easily angered, with an increase in troubling thoughts. In some cases, people find the pain very worrying and have difficulties with sleeping.
How can we explain chronic pain?
Scientific understanding and research over the decades has significantly increased. It has become more clear that majority of musculoskeletal chronic pain cases are characterised by alterations in the central nervous system processing (the brain).
Our nervous system begins to register and process normal sensations as “pain signals”.
Pain is influenced by factors such as our thoughts, activity, sleep, mood and stress. Chronic pain results from a hypersensitive nervous system and usually no longer warns of tissue damage.
So how can physiotherapy help?
Physiotherapy intervention for chronic pain has a focus on empowering people to manage their conditions. Treatments such as pain management can help “turn down” a hypersensitive nervous system, reduce pain and improve quality of life.
Our treatment goals and plan include:
- Education on chronic pain
- Goal setting with the physiotherapist
- Improve day to day functioning, especially ADL’s
- Self management strategies
Yoga and chronic pain?
The incorporation of physical postures, breathing, relaxation techniques and mind body awareness begin to decrease the hypersensitive nervous system. Yoga begins to bring the body into a state of equilibrium.
Yoga classes are available at the Healthy Body Company at our Jordan Springs clinic.
Invest time into your health and body and getting moving.
Movement = Change
Here is a helpful video to understand chronic pain: