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Some Facts about Chronic Pain and How to Manage It

Almost all of us feel pain at some time or the other. So when you pull a muscle, strain a tendon or even cut your finger, pain is the way your body tells you something’s wrong. But once that injury has healed, the pain recedes and eventually goes away altogether.

But these are very different from chronic pain in which the pain persists for days, weeks and years post the injury. In short, a chronic pain is one that lasts for 3-6 months/more. Chronic pain can impact the way you perform day-to-day activities; aside from this, it impacts your mental health too. But it is possible to get rid of chronic pain if you get it treated on time and follow your doctor’s instructions.

Chronic pain – what causes it?

Pain typically comes from the range of messages that get transmitted through your nervous system. Whenever you hurt yourself, that injury immediately switches on the pain sensors positioned in that particular area. These pain sensors then send out messages that are in the form of electrical signals which get transmitted from one nerve to the next until they finally reach your brain.

The signal is processed by the brain which then sends out the message that you are hurt. All this occurs within seconds and it’s why you can feel pain the minute you hurt yourself. Once the cause of that pain has been resolved, the signal generally stops. This is where chronic pain is different; the nerve signals continue firing even after the problem has been solved or the injury has been healed completely.

The conditions that cause chronic pain

There are times when certain chronic pains start without any specific cause. But in some cases, these pains can start due to a health condition or an injury. Some of the main causes of chronic pain include:

  • Past injuries/surgeries
  • Nerve damage
  • Migraines and other severe headaches
  • Back problems
  • Infections
  • Arthritis
  • Fibromyalgia – In this condition the person feels muscle pain throughout his/her body

Chronic pain – the symptoms

Chronic pain can move from being mild to very severe. It may come and go or may just continue every single day. This pain may be:

  • Dull
  • Throbbing
  • Stinging
  • Squeezing
  • Burning
  • Shooting
  • Stiffness
  • Soreness

For some people, this type of chronic pain is only one of numerous other symptoms such as:

  • No hunger
  • Feeling very tired/wiped out
  • Mood changes
  • Trouble sleeping
  • A lack of energy
  • Weakness

How chronic pain impacts mental health

Chronic pain can easily interfere with your day-to-day life and can prevent you from doing the simple things you need & want to do. In fact, it can lead to feelings of depression, anger, anxiousness, frustration and lack of self-esteem etc. The reason the condition becomes chronic is that the pain itself and your emotions get trapped in a cycle of sorts.

When you are in pain, you tend to feel more depressed and that worsens your pain. This is also why many doctors prescribe antidepressants as one of the treatments for chronic pain. Not only does this medication help with the pain, but it helps the person deal with the emotional strain it causes as well. Since pain affects your sleep cycle that increases your stress levels; and this along with lack of sleep can raise the level of pain you feel.

It’s important to get help for chronic pain

If you’re hurt constantly and it just doesn’t get better, it’s important that you consult your doctor. Some treatment options include physiotherapy, relaxation therapy, getting sufficient sleep, lifestyle changes etc.

We at Insync Physiotherapy have skilled and experienced physiotherapists on board and can provide excellent treatments and care. For any more information on the different types of services we provide, feel free to contact us on (02) 7226 3432. You can also send us your queries via this online form.

Thanks for reading,
Insync Physiotherapy Team
(02) 7226 3432