Pain is the most common reason for seeking medical care. It is also the most common reason why people choose physical therapy.
Acute, Subacute, and Chronic Pain
Acute pain is common with tissue damage that may occur with a ligament sprain, a muscle or tendon strain, inflammation within a joint, or a tear of a muscle, tendon, or meniscus. Subacute pain is pain that lasts for 3 to 6 months. Subacute pain is common with more complex conditions where there is prolonged healing (joint replacements and the pain associated with the recovery after surgery).
Chronic pain is pain lasting for more than 6 months. While the body’s musculoskeletal tissues may heal from an initial injury or degenerative change, pain may persist for months past the tissue healing process. Nearly 50 million American adults have significant chronic pain or severe pain, according to a new study prepared by National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.
IMPORTANT: within 6 months almost all tissue damage completely heals. Rarely is there a case when the body cannot heal. Rare cases of diabetes may limit the healing process; however, in almost all cases, tissue healing will occur within 6 months.
The Principles of Chronic Pain Treatment
New ideas studied by pain scientists suggest that there are four basic components to the successful treatment of pain.
- Pain education – pain neuroscience education (PNE) or therapeutic neuroscience education (TNE) helps patients understand that pain is an output from the brain, it’s complex, and not just in your head.
- Exercise – numerous scientific studies have demonstrated that paced & graded exercise can have an extremely positive impact on pain.
- Sleep Health – addressing sleep issues can also reduce pain
- Goal Setting – it took months, even years for your body and brain to experience the chronic pain. Setting specific, reasonable, and progressive goals are part of a successful chronic pain treatment program.
If you have chronic pain, we encourage you to set up an appointment with one of our physical therapists. We will take a thorough health history, perform a physical exam, create a custom program for you and help put you back on the road to recovery!