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.
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.