Chronic Pain

Chronic Pain

Chronic Pain

By definition, Chronic Pain is persistent pain that lasts longer than 12 weeks. Most people may be new to the notion of chronic pain because we have the common belief that pain goes away when tissues heal after an injury or illness, usually less than 12 weeks. However, this is not the case for 1 in 5 Australians and pain may not lessen even when the healing process is complete.

 

Chronic pain is complex and can be frustrating because it involves the nerves and nervous systems.  Chronic pain occurs because of changes to the nervous system, which keeps the nerves firing and signaling pain. However, there are likely to be other factors that can contribute to chronic pain, including; genetics, gender and previous episodes of acute pain.  Chronic pain can be intense and unrelenting, and lead to various degrees of disability if it is not well-managed.

 

Chronic pain refers to the amplification of pain by the central nervous system. Pain itself often modulates the way the central nervous system does, meaning a chronic pain patient can become more sensitive and get more pain with less provocation over time.

Lower Limb Biomechanical Assessment Special

Chronic pain is a grey area in health care. Because tissues have healed, however, the alarm system and brain have changed in an effort to protect you, diagnoses based on tissue processes are no longer fit. Patients end up with multiple theories depending on which healthcare practitioner they see.

For people with chronic pain from Fibromyalgia sufferers to a whiplash victim, changes in the spinal cord and the brain may no longer receive accurate information about what is happening in the tissue. In this sensitized state, the brain is being fed information that no longer reflects the true health and abilities of the tissues at the end of the nerve. Brain responses such as movement, thoughts, or autonomic, endocrine and emotional responses, are now based on faulty information about the health of the tissues at the end of the nerve.

Due to the complexity of chronic pain, it is important to be under the care of a healthcare practitioner who thoroughly understands the chronic pain pathways. This ensures that your pain can be properly managed and you can have a better understanding of your body and pain.

At Enhance Physiotherapy we use the latest up-to-date research and treatment techniques to treat chronic pain and we understand the frustrations behind the pain. We are here to plan, treat and offer options for you to lead a life that has pain at a manageable level.

Book your Enhance Experience online, or call us today.

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Chronic Disease Management

Chronic Disease Management

Chronic disease is defined as a persistent or long lasting health condition.  The term chronic is applied when the condition lasts longer than 12 weeks or 3 months. Chronic disease can be debilitating and affect many aspects of life. Often, the management of people with chronic conditions require a multidisciplinary and team-based approach between a General Practitioner (GP), Physiotherapist, Exercise Physiologist and other allied health care providers. People with chronic disease may suffer from pain and other symptoms that can be managed through a management plan. Management plans can be prescribed by an Enhance Physiotherapist or Enhance Exercise Physiologist and can include patient education, pain relief, self-management strategies and advice, guidance and support for weight management and individualized exercise programs.

Exercise is one of the most cost-effective medicines proven to prevent and treat a wide range of health conditions. Our clinical team is trained in prescribing the most effective exercises to treat your condition, while delivering a program that best suits your goals and needs.

Chronic diseases can include (but are not limited to):

  • Cardiovascular disease
    Also known as heart disease, heart attack, angina, heart failure, cardiomyopathy or stroke.
    Exercise can help reduce or manage your risk factors such as high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, physical inactivity, being overweight, and diabetes. It can also reduce disability and improve quality of life. 1
  • Pulmonary disease
    Also known as COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), Emphysema, Asthma, Bronchiectasis, Pulmonary Fibrosis or Pulmonary Hypertension.
    Exercise can improve breathlessness, quality of life and reduce your risk of being admitted to hospital. 2
  • Diabetes
    This can include Type I, Type II or gestational.
    Exercise helps to manage diabetes by improving the body’s ability to move glucose out of the blood stream and improve insulin sensitivity. Exercise can prevent diabetes, which can lead to heart disease, kidney disease, eye disease, nerve and vascular disease or complications during pregnancy. 3
  • Osteoarthritis
    Involves the “wearing” down of the joints in the body and can lead to joint pain and stiffness, reduced mobility and strength.
    Exercise may assist to reduce pain and improve strength and stability around your joints. It can also help with weight loss, resulting in reduced load and pressure through your joints. This can lead to an overall improvement in function and quality of life. 4
  • Osteoporosis
    Results in weak and brittle bones due to reduced bone density over time.
    Exercise, specifically weight bearing and resistance exercise, helps build strong bones by improving bone density, and can slow the progression of osteoporosis. Balance and strengthening exercises can protect against falls, which can increase the risk of fractures in those with osteoporosis. 5
  • Cancer
    This includes all types of cancer.
    Exercise can help prevent certain types of cancer (breast, colon, lung and prostate) and may be effective in boosting your treatment and immunity, improving treatment outcomes, and can improve your quality of life both during and after treatment. 6
  • Chronic Pain
    Chronic pain is pain lasting more than 12 weeks after injury.
    Exercise is an essential part of treatment as it can help break the chronic pain cycle by reducing pain, managing stress and anxiety levels associated with chronic pain, improving sleep, and assisting you with returning to your normal activities quicker.7

Book your Enhance Experience online, or call us today.

  1. Foundation, T., 2020. Cardiovascular Disease Fact Sheet. [online] The Heart Foundation. Available at: <https://www.heartfoundation.org.au/about-us/what-we-do/heart-disease-in-australia/cardiovascular-disease-fact-sheet.
  2. Lung Foundation Australia. 2020. What Is Lung Disease? | Lung Foundation Australia. [online] Available at: <https://lungfoundation.com.au/patients-carers/lung-health/what-is-lung-disease/?gclid=CjwKCAjwvtX0BRAFEiwAGWJyZA3joqbZwqG7ls07510ss2Gyb1cSKTxd7kEJrrOwMF6jsVPWszXMWxoCk6YQAvD_BwE.
  3. Diabetes, A. and diabetes, W., 2020. International Diabetes Federation – What Is Diabetes. [online] Idf.org. Available at: <https://www.idf.org/aboutdiabetes/what-is-diabetes.html?gclid=CjwKCAjwvtX0BRAFEiwAGWJyZOzTz97ATxrx23xjaIcXYvLwFhS2C4nl3ERUXsLb2txinWzwdh8DVhoCkroQAvD_BwE.
  4. Arthritis Australia. 2020. Osteoarthritis — Arthritis Australia – The Most Common Arthritis In Australia. [online] Available at: <https://arthritisaustralia.com.au/types-of-arthritis/osteoarthritis/.
  5. Osteoporosis.org.au. 2020. Risk Factors | Osteoporosis Australia. [online] Available at: <https://www.osteoporosis.org.au/risk-factors.

Women’s Health

Women’s Health

Women’s Health

A woman’s body goes through extreme changes throughout her lifetime; from puberty, to pregnancy, childbirth, postnatal recovery and then menopause. Women’s health encompasses a variety of conditions that can be associated with a women’s body and these changes that occur depending on the stage of her life. Some of these conditions can include:

  • Leakage or incontinence of the bladder or bowel:
    1 in 3 women who have gone through childbirth will experience leakage. It is common during pregnancy, childbirth and menopause for the pelvic floor muscles to weaken, due to stretching of the muscles and hormonal changes.
  • Chronic pelvic pain and pelvic floor overactivity:
    Pelvic floor overactivity can occur when the pelvic floor muscles are protecting an area due to a history of pain in that area. For example, endometriosis, painful periods or chronic lower back pain can sometimes result in overactivity of the pelvic floor rather than weakness.
  • Low back or sacroiliac joint pain associated with pregnancy:
    Pain in the lower back is common during pregnancy as weight around the pelvis begins to shift, adding abnormal stress and load on the joints of the lumbar and sacroiliac areas. The pain may or may not travel down the legs. Hormonal changes can also result in a stretching of the ligaments around the lower back and pelvis.
  • Other pregnancy associated conditions such as wrist pain (carpal tunnel syndrome, De Quervains syndrome) or rectus abdominus diastasis (abdominal separation)
  • Mastitis or inflammation of the breast tissue
  • Osteoporosis or osteopenia
    A decrease in bone density can occur as a result of ageing. Due to changes in hormones, 25 percent of bone mass is lost in the 2 years either side of menopause.
Lower Limb Biomechanical Assessment Special

Physiotherapy for management of incontinence and prolapse is now the first line recommendation, before medication or surgery, as outlined by the International Consultation on Incontinence. At Enhance Physiotherapy, our physiotherapists have expertise in managing and treating women’s health conditions, including assessment and retraining of the pelvic floor muscles using a non-invasive tool called a real time ultrasound (see Service).

The pelvic floor is made up of layers of muscles and tissues that attach from the front of the pelvis to the back of the tailbone. The pelvic floor has four main functions:

  • To support the pelvic organs (bladder, bowel and uterus);
  • To control the bladder and bowel;
  • To improve vaginal tone to help with sexual enjoyment;
  • To support the back by working with the abdominal muscles.

They can become weak or dysfunctional due to pregnancy, inactivity, constipation, lifting heavy weight, chronic coughing or ageing.

Possible signs of a dysfunctional pelvic floor (weak or overactive):

  • Accidental leakage or incontinence
  • Leakage with running or jumping
  • Unable to make it to the toilet
  • Frequent urge to go to the toilet
  • Difficulty emptying your bladder or bowel
  • History of a prolapse
  • Lack of sexual sensation
  • Pain with sexual intercourse

Pelvic floor dysfunction can be easily addressed through retraining exercises, relaxation and mindfulness training and general exercise advice to restore the coordination, endurance and strength of the muscles. It is recommended to start with a real time ultrasound assessment due to the deep nature of the muscles. Your Enhance Physiotherapist can then prescribe you with an individualized pelvic floor program designed specifically to suit your needs and goals or they may refer you onwards to a specialized Women’s Health Physiotherapist if internal examination is needed.

Your Enhance Physiotherapist or exercise physiologist can also tailor a general exercise program for you to address other areas of women’s health conditions such as:

  • Pregnancy and post natal health and wellbeing
  • Bone health during or after menopause
  • Chronic pelvic pain or chronic lower back pain
  • Specific programs for those undergoing cancer treatment
  • Weight management or weight loss following pregnancy or menopause

Our remedial massage therapists also offer pregnancy massages specifically for the expectant mother (See Service).

Book online or call us to book your Enhance experience today

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