Chronic pain is described as pain lasting longer than 3 months that limits function and participation in activities of daily living.
Due to chronic pain’s multifactorial nature, health practitioners working with chronic pain patients should always treat each patient individually, as there is no quick fix or magical recipe for fixing chronic pain, it usually takes months to help reduce pain.
This is a great blog by Exercise and Sports Science Australia, providing some key messages for those people with chronic pain.
- All Pain is Real
Pain is a real, personal experience. However, pain is not always a reflection of tissue damage.
- Pain is Multidimensional
Factors such as damage to the tissues, beliefs about pain, fear of movement, poor mood, physical inactivity, reliance on painkillers or opioids, and emotional factors can all play a part in how much pain can be experienced.
- Pain is an alarm
Pain normally warns up that a position or activity may be harmful (often before any tissue damage occurs).
- Pain is not a measure of damage
It acts as a shield to protect us from any further damage alerting us that the area may be under threat.
- Pain can be helpful and unhelpful
Short term pain can be useful as it helps to guard the area however long term pain can not be a good thing as there’s no longer the need to protect the area yet the pain can still persist (i.e lower back pain)
- No brain, no pain
Pain is an output of the brain, not an input to the brain.
- More than meets the eye
Pain does not show up on scans.
- Know pain
Understanding your pain is the best place to start in recovering from it. Beginning from the knowledge that pain doesn’t mean damage.
- Motion is lotion
The second step in recovery is to get active. Exercise is so important in building strength, removing the fear surrounding exercise and moving injuring the area and gaining confidence.
- Focus on function
Setting goals to work towards and strive to achieve. It is important however to ensure these goals are surrounding gaining back function and things that you may have missed out on due to the pain rather than completing removing the pain itself.
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Anyone living with chronic pain knows how debilitating it can be. It’s defined as pain that lasts for more than three months, or in many cases, beyond normal healing time. If you, or someone you know is living with chronic pain, here are some things you need to know…