How to Reduce Chronic Pain

How to Reduce Chronic Pain

Most Common Types of Chronic Pain

Over 100 million Americans live with chronic pain. Chronic pain is considered pain that lasts for 12 weeks or longer. If you are living with chronic pain, you might feel like your body has been hurting for weeks, months, or sometimes even years. Many of us tend to put our own needs last, so it is understandable why some of these issues are left untreated for so long. These are the most common types of chronic pain:

  • Back pain

Back pain affects 8 out of 10 people at some point throughout their lives. The severity of this pain can range from a dull, constant ache to a sharp pain.

  • Headache pain

Headaches are one of the most common pain conditions in the world, and up to 75% of adults worldwide have had a headache in the last year. Some common types of headache pain are --

Tension headaches

Eye strain headaches

Migraines

Cluster headaches

  • Chronic joint pain

Joint pain is another extremely common cause of chronic pain. About one-third of adults report having joint pain within the past 30 days. Some common types of chronic joint pain are ---

Osteoarthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis

Repetitive motion injury

Bursitis

Tendonitis

  • Chronic nerve pain

It is estimated that about 25-30% of Americans will be affected by neuropathy or chronic nerve pain. Some of the most common types of chronic nerve pain are --

Sciatica

Diabetic neuropathy

Carpal tunnel syndrome

Trigeminal neuralgia

Chronic Pain and Physical Therapy

Physical therapy is a great way for patients with chronic pain to manage it and regain their mobility. Because chronic pain can be caused by a variety of reasons, there is a variety of ways that we can address it. Our first goal will be to discover the underlying reason so we can create the customized treatment plan that will suit your needs. Physical therapy includes both passive and active treatments. The purpose of passive treatments is to relax the body and allow healing, while active treatments exert physical effort to help the patient regain movement and range of motion after an injury. Examples of passive physical therapy treatment that can help with chronic pain include:

  • Deep tissue massage

If you deal with chronic pain, a massage can reduce tension by encouraging relaxation and increasing range of movement. When blood flow heightens during a massage, muscle temperature increases as well.

  • Hot and cold therapies

Cold therapies can help with chronic pain by decreasing blood flow, while heat treatment can help promote blood flow and help muscles relax.

  • Ultrasound

At ProFysio Physical Therapy, we use mechanical ultrasound therapy to penetrate tissues, which results in expansion and contraction of tiny gas bubbles in those tissues. The result is a decrease in the inflammatory response, which lessens both swelling and pain.

  • Dry needling

Dry needling is a great treatment option for chronic pain, particularly chronic lower back pain. Dry needling works by inserting thin, dry needles through the skin and into the muscular tissue. One of the contributing factors of chronic pain is overuse or straining of the muscles. This can cause knots in areas of the body known as myofascial trigger points that are irritable and painful.

  • Cupping

Cupping works by creating a vacuum that causes the skin to rise and the blood vessels to expand. Silicone cups can also be used to create a massage effect. There are three cupping techniques: longitudinal, cross-fiber, and circular. It works by creating suction with negative pressure to increase hydration and blood to body tissues, ease up adhesions, get rid of excess fluids, and eliminate connective tissues. It can also boost skin health, help with respiratory issues, and improve digestion.

If the chronic pain has been around for a few years, it might take a decent amount of time before quality of life is noticeably improved. For example, patients who have hypersensitivity tend to need gentle, hands-on treatment to gauge their sensitivity levels. For these patients, we will typically begin with gentle massages and then introduce other methods like hot and cold therapies. From there, we typically begin to work out way into a low-intensity exercise program. Because it is common for chronic pain patients to be stuck in a cycle of pain avoidance, it is also common for them to lead an unhealthy lifestyle. For this reason, it is important to understand that there are tangible steps available that can create true healing. Oftentimes, when the patient finds that healing, they are able to unlock a level of confidence they never knew they had. We will work directly with each patient on an individual level, taking note of the practices that work best for their condition and acting accordingly.

If chronic pain is interfering with your life, the team at ProFysio Physical Therapy is here to help. Call us at (732) 812-5200 or contact us online to begin your journey towards healing today.

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