Chronic Pain

Physical Therapy

"If you come on a journey with me, I want to be able to listen to you, believe in you, and give me the tools that you need to overcome chronic pain."

- Macy Guisto, PT, DPT

Chronic pain is pain that lasts longer than 3 months. Chronic pain can exist anywhere in your body. A cardinal sign of chronic pain is becoming extra sensitive to any input to our bodies. Oftentimes, individuals with chronic pain experience discomfort with movement, at rest or even to things like light touch or sustained posturing. Persistent pain is often heightened by stressors, emotional distress, or feelings of anxiety or depression. Chronic pain is a spectrum. It can range from being isolated to the low back and impacting your ability to complete your usual exercise program all the way to being so bad you are stuck in bed all day. Some of the most common diagnoses for people struggling with chronic pain included fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, arthritic pain, non-specific low back pain, and migraines. 

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Possible Symptoms

  • Widespread pain

  • Joint stiffness

  • Fatigue

  • Persistent pain

  • Sleep disturbance

  • Depression

  • Mental fatigue (fog)

  • Short term memory loss

  • Sensitized GI system

  • Anxiety

  • Social impact

  • Functional impact

  • Headaches

  • Sexual dysfunction

How does Physical Therapy help?

It is important to understand chronic pain could have stemmed from an injury. After that injured area heals, at times we may continue to experience pain. Our nervous system and brain senses potential danger in that area and wants us to protect it. The brain is essentially sending false alarm signals from the potential threat, even though the tissue is not truly damaged or injured. In order to treat this, physical therapists need to take an individualized approach to not only the physical area where the pain is occurring, but the nervous system as well. This includes managing anxiety, stress levels, and regulating sleeping. 

 

We do this through graded exposure. Graded exposure is taking an activity that creates a large pain response and pairing it down into parts. Once these parts are established, we work on them individually until it is time to combine them back together and build back up to the entire activity. 

 

This also includes sleep hygiene which is creating a sleep routine for people to achieve more restful sleep. Improving our ability to rest allows a 'reset' for the nervous system, in turn reducing pain levels. Learning how to regularly practice meditation and progressive muscle relaxation to get our nervous system to calm down is key in your recovery.

What Are My Next Steps?

The best way to tackle this issue is reach out to us. If you believe chronic pain is causing you discomfort and disruptions in your life, please click the button below and contact us. You will be put in contact with a physical therapist who can discuss your issue and help build a plan tailored to your specific needs that will help you get better, stay better, and regain your freedom to do the things you love to do.

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