If you suffer from chronic pain, you likely find it difficult to lead an active, comfortable life.
Chronic conditions and illnesses can last for days, weeks, months - even years - and affect our ability to perform simple tasks and chores. When pain is always present, it can also affect our focus, productivity and mental health. Living life can start to feel like a battle against your own mind and body.
Unfortunately, chronic pain negatively impacts the lives of millions of Canadians. However, there are strategies and treatments such as physiotherapy that can help make chronic conditions and illnesses manageable.
Today, we'll define chronic pain and explain how chronic pain treatment at our physiotherapy clinic in Nepean can help.
What is chronic pain?
When pain lasts for 3 to 6 months or longer, it's classified as chronic pain, which can be caused by a number of issues ranging from disease to surgical procedures and injuries.
It can persist after the time of normal tissue healing and can have both physical and emotional effects, ranging from tense muscles and limited mobility to anxiety, depression, anger and fear or re-injury.
Acute pain is defined as pain that often sets in suddenly and is sharp in quality. It typically vanishes on its own after a few hours, days or weeks. For example, pain due to a cut, burn, bruise, fractured bone or pulled muscle is considered acute.
This type of pain does not last longer than six months, and disappears when the underlying cause of pain has been treated or has healed.
Seeking medical attention and identifying supplementary treatments that may help alleviate both acute and chronic pain can improve quality of life and reduce suffering.
How is chronic pain caused?
Anxiety, depression, diabetes and chronic injury can work in combination to leave your neurological system on constant high alert. Chronic pain can occur in our joints, back, nerves and head. Many chronic pain conditions are caused by one of the following:
Arthritis, fibromyalgia, shingles, multiple sclerosis and neuropathy due to diabetes can lead to chronic pain.
Our Nepean physiotherapists can help alleviate, or in some cases, eliminate pain caused by these types of diseases.
The way you stand, move, work, exercise or even type can take a cumulative and gradual, but significant toll on your body.
Joint and muscle damage can occur and lead to chronic pain. For example, if you regularly lift heavy items at work or in your personal life but don't use proper techniques, repetitive stress injuries and chronic back pain can result.
A physiotherapist can help teach you to maneuver your body correctly to prevent overuse injuries.
We spend about one-third of our lives at work. Depending on the nature of our job and responsibilities, many dangers can put us at risk for injuries such as trips, slips and falls.
Fires, explosions, and accidents related to vehicles and machinery are also common causes.
How does physiotherapy work?
A physiotherapist can perform a thorough assessment to determine the cause of your pain and dysfunction. They can then develop an individualized treatment plan to overcome pain and injury.
One of our primary goals with physiotherapy is to treat and manage the underlying cause of pain, rather than mask symptoms with drugs. While a physiotherapist aims to prevent injury and diseases, they can also help treat chronic degenerative conditions and aid in recovery from surgical procedures.
Treatment for chronic pain may include both in-clinic and at-home therapy. Your specific recovery plan will be geared to your needs.
Common approaches used by our physiotherapists include:
Education & Advice
We often offer general advice about how to improve posture and correct lifting or carrying techniques to aid in injury prevention.
Movement, Tailored Exercise & Guidance for Physical Activity
Specific exercises may be recommended to help improve your overall health and mobility, and to strengthen certain areas of the body.
Your physiotherapist may use their hands to help relieve pain and stiffness, and to encourage better movement throughout the body.
What are the benefits of physiotherapy?
Along with providing education and preventing, treating and managing pain, physiotherapists can help improve your mobility and quality of life by:
- Increasing strength and range of motion
- Optimizing balance and coordination
- Helping to avoid surgery
- Improving cardiovascular function and lung capacity
- Managing heart and diabetic conditions
- Easing pregnancy and post-partum care
- Improving mental and physical health at every age
When is physiotherapy right for me?
Physiotherapy is often recommended for many health issues and conditions, including:
- Neurological conditions such as stroke, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease or spinal chord injury
- Orthopedic conditions that impact the joints and bones including fractures, back pain and sprains
- Childhood disorders such as muscular dystrophy
- Geriatric conditions such as osteoporosis, arthritis and more
- Sports injuries
Your doctor may also recommend physiotherapy to:
- Restore mobility following surgery or hospital care
- Assist with rehabilitation following motor vehicle accidents, work-related injuries or heart attacks
Physiotherapy can play an integral role in managing and treating chronic pain, whether yours is due to an injury or ongoing health condition.
One of our skilled physiotherapists at Nepean Sports Medicine & Physiotherapy Centre can develop a customized program for you to suit your specific prevention, recovery and treatment needs.
Are you experiencing chronic pain that conventional physical therapies aren't addressing?
We can help develop a treatment and exercise plan to help you recover.
Welcome to the Nepean Sports Medicine & Physiotherapy Centre blog, where we provide lots of helpful tips, news, information and advice about physiotherapy and massage treatments, as well as general health and wellness, in Nepean and Ottawa.