Chronic pain is typically defined as pain symptoms that last greater than 12 weeks. Comparatively, acute pain lasts less than 3 months and generally improves as the body heals and recovers.
Unfortunately, nearly 8 million Canadians experience chronic pain. Living in chronic pain can cause a variety of physical, emotional and social challenges for both the person in chronic pain and their loved ones/support network.
While chronic pain can be debilitating, there are strategies and methods available to help minimize the burden associated with chronic pain. The physical therapists at REP Physio are educated in ways of treating and assisting in chronic pain management. Through education and empowerment, combined with prescribing appropriate therapeutic exercises and other interventions such as dry needling/ IMS, planning and pacing advice.
As everyone’s experiences with pain is unique, physical therapy at REP Physio can typically be classified into two categories:
Chronic Primary Pain
Pain that persists after the body has completely healed. It also includes pain that has no identifiable cause. Primary chronic pain can include conditions such as Fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia is a condition that affects more than 500 000 Canadians. It affects primarily women. Fibromyalgia is thought to be caused by a mix up of signals within the nervous system. Common symptoms of fibromyalgia include fatigue, insomnia, difficulty concentrating and GI symptoms among many many others.
Multiple sclerosis, a long lasting disease that affects the nervous system, can also cause chronic pain. This is a condition that we see/treat frequently at REP Physio in Edmonton. While MS has no known cure, physiotherapy can complement other pain management strategies (medication etc.) to help improve function and quality of life.
Other types of chronic primary pain that we see at REP Physio include long standing back and musculoskeletal pain. This type of pain can be due to trauma, such as motor vehicle accidents and sports injuries. It can also occur with no identifiable cause and/or degenerative changes that are common as we age.
Chronic Secondary Pain
This type of pain occurs alongside other diseases, such as cancer, rheumatoid arthritis and post-surgical pain.
Since pain of all types, including chronic pain, is an invisible condition it can be difficult for others to understand what you are experiencing. This can lead to isolation and frustration resulting in significant negative impacts on an individuals social, physical and mental health.
Types of physiotherapy treatment used to remedy chronic pain
Not sure what physical therapy treatments are available to remedy chronic pain?
REP Physio has you covered.
Therapeutic exercise. Exercise is well supported in the research literature for the management of a wide variety of acute and chronic pain conditions. At REP Physio, we prioritise an active approach to care. You can expect that you will be provided with appropriate therapeutic exercises that are unique for you.
- Massage therapy: a great option for calming down the muscles affected by chronic pain from sports injuries, arthritis and motor vehicle accidents.
- Manual therapy, including joint mobilizations and manipulation: This is a form of hands-on treatment done by physical therapists to move joints in the body to restore movement and reduce pain.
- Radial shockwave therapy: This non-invasive treatment can assist in stimulating the body’s own healing process. At REP Physio, this evidence based, non-invasive treatment is used frequently for chronic tendon pain and dysfunction.
- Intramuscular dry needling: (also referred to as IMS) is an additional treatment that can help in chronic muscular pain. This technique involves the insertion of a sterile needle into painful muscles, and/or shortened or taut bands. This causes the muscle to contract and twitch, promoting blood flow and healing. Dry needling is a great way to reduce pain in an affected area of the body, and all physiotherapists at REP Physio are trained to provide this type of treatment.
- Cognitive Behavioural Therapy/Psychological Interventions: REP Physio is proud to offer a registered psychologist that can help provide management strategies and techniques to minimize the impacts of chronic pain on your life.
- Traditional Chinese Medicine Acupuncture: REP Physio is proud to offer TCM approaches to chronic pain management with our experienced, registered acupuncturist.
At home remedies for chronic pain
There are plenty of great home techniques to manage different types of chronic pain. Exercise, specifically aerobic exercise has been shown to be an effective method for pain relief in daily life. Exercise releases endorphins in the body that can increase a person’s pain threshold.
Heat therapy is another way to reduce muscle soreness and spasms, and has been shown to be helpful in the management of chronic back pain. Your recovery at home can also include manual therapy techniques. Soft tissue manipulation through foam rolling, self massage (using a tennis ball or lacrosse ball) and stretching can also be helpful for management of chronic pain by releasing areas of tight painful muscle. Lastly, practicing proper sleep hygiene and finding proactive strategies for stress management (including joining chronic pain support groups) can also be helpful in chronic pain management.
Also, REP Physio is proud to offer telerehab services, which allows us to help you manage chronic pain from the comfort of your own home.
How REP Physio can help you
At REP Physio, we pride ourselves on providing extended one on one treatment and assessment times. This allows us to better assess your condition and devise a treatment plan for your chronic pain that meets the unique needs of your condition and lifestyle. We also work closely with other allied health providers (physiatrists, physicians, dentists, neurologists etc.)
Take control of your chronic pain
You are not alone. Many people across Edmonton experience chronic pain and REP Physio has the clinical expertise to help manage chronic pain.
Have any questions about how REP Physio can help with chronic pain? Give us a call at 780-244-1095 or 780-395-9170. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com