Home > Blog > Physiotherapy > Chronic Pain Syndromes Physiotherapy
Chronic Pain Syndromes Physiotherapy
Chronic pain is a condition that happens when our brain concludes that
there is a threat to a person's well-being based on the many signals it
receives from the body. This condition can and often occur
without any actual or real body tissue damage (due to injury or
illness), and last beyond normal tissue healing time.
It is estimated that 116 million Americans have chronic pain each
year. The cost in the United States is $560–$635 billion annually for
medical treatment, lost work time, and lost wages.
The causes of chronic pain can differ a lot. While any injuries or condition can lead
to chronic pain, there are certain medical conditions more likely to
cause chronic pain. These include:
Some diseases, such as cancer and arthritis, can cause/aggravate ongoing pain. With
chronic pain however, pain is created in the nervous system even after
physical tissues have healed.
Chronic pain affects each person experiencing it differently.
cases and patients, chronic pain can lead to
- decreased activity levels
- job loss
- financial difficulties
Our senior physiotherapists work together with chronic pain patients to
their pain and
- restore their activity participations to the highest possible levels
With treatment, the negative effects of chronic pain can be reduced. The American Physical Therapy Association launched a national
campaign to raise awareness about the risks of opioids and the safee
alternative of physiotherapy for long-term pain management.
first of all, What Is Chronic Pain?
Pain is an unpleasant sensation that we usually associate with injury
or tissue damage, but can actually be present in the absence of tissue
damage as well. Pain can be acute or chronic.
Acute pain lasts for a short time – up to 12 weeks.
It is a warning that tissue damage has occurred or may occur, or to help
us prevent injury or disease. For instance, if we touch a hot item or stove,
the body sends a danger message to the brain that there is a threat to
tissues in order to prevent further injury.
A sore foot can signal a
need to change your footwear.
In some cases, the danger messages may be
due to some disease process, and your brain may interpret those messages
as pain. This can cause you to seek medical attention – diagnosis and
treatment – for what may be a serious condition. Signaling pain in this
manner is the body's way of protecting us and this is a good thing.
Chronic pain on the other hand, is any discomfort or unpleasant
sensation that lasts for more than 3 months – which is beyond an expected
normal healing time. Often, those who have chronic pain believe they
have an ongoing disease or that their body has not healed, when this may
not be the case.
Chronic pain is likely not warning you of possible
injury or danger; instead, the pain centers in the brain may be causing
you to hurt even though there are no new causes of pain occurring in the
body. Anyone can develop chronic pain, at any age.
The brain changes in
- When you are injured or develop a painful disease, nerves send information from the problem area to the brain.
- The brain analyzes this information coming from the body to
determine if there is a threat to the body and whether action needs to
be taken to prevent harm.
- When pain is constant or chronic, the brain and nervous system go on "high alert," becoming more sensitive.
- Cells that conduct sensation in the nervous system can also become
more sensitive when on high alert, making it easier for the brain to
interpret these sensations as a threat and thus cause you to have more
pain. These changes in the brain and central nervous system induce and
maintain chronic pain symptoms.
- When pain is chronic: Pain sensations are activated in the brain;
The brain continues to interpret all sensations from the problem areas
as danger, even when there is no more tissue damage occurring. This makes
it easier for the pain centers in the brain to activate; Pain messages
come from many different areas of the brain – areas that may control
fight or fear reactions, movement, emotions, problem-solving, and
learning. In fact, almost any system of the body can be affected by
- The brain and nervous system continue reacting by causing you to
continue to be in pain. This process increases sensations, emotions, or
thoughts about the problem area. At this point, any sensory input can
activate the pain centers. Even thinking about it, or reading the word
pain can trigger pain sensations. The pain is in the brain: In order to
protect you, the brain is making the decision to increase the alert
level for sensations you feel.
How Does chronic pain Feel like?
How chronic pain feels depends and varies from patients to patients as pain experience is very
personal. How often it occurs, how severe it is, or how long it lasts is
not predictable from one person to another.
Common complaints related to chronic pain include:
- It may seem as if "everything hurts, everywhere."
- There may be sudden sharp episodes, like stabs of pain.
- It may seem as if the pain "has a mind of its own."
- You feel symptoms even if you are not doing anything to cause them.
- It feels worse when you think about it.
- It feels worse when you experience upsetting circumstances in your life.
- You may feel more anxious and depressed.
- You may feel your symptoms spread from one area to another area.
- You may feel fatigued, and afraid to do your normal activities.
These complaints are common when you have chronic pain.
This being said, that doesn't mean that your physical condition is worsening; it
may just mean that your system has become more sensitive to pain and stimuli.
chronic pain Signs and Symptoms
Research finds the following signs may be associated with a chronic pain syndrome:
Fearfulness. It is easy to begin to fear increased
pain when you have a chronic pain condition. As a result, you may begin
to avoid activity. You may find that you rely more on family members to
help with daily functions.
Body stiffness when you try to become more active. Stiffness including joint stiffness and muscle stiffness may make you feel as if your body is less able to perform daily activities.
Deconditioning. Not moving your body results in less
tolerance when you want to become more active. If you are inactive for a
long time, muscles weaken and shrink from not being used. This can also
increase your risk of falling. Recommend that you consider regular deep tissue release massage to ensure your muscles are in optimal health and improve circulation.
Decreased circulation. Lack of activity decreases
the circulation of much-needed blood to your cells. Tissues in your body
may not get as much oxygen as they need. As a result, they may not be
as healthy as they can be. This can cause you to feel fatigued, and lack
Weight gain and/or a worsening of other conditions.
Decreased activity can lead to unwanted weight gain. Added pounds and
inactivity can aggravate symptoms of other conditions such as diabetes
and high blood pressure. Chronic pain conditions are also commonly
associated with feelings of anxiety or depression.
Increased use of medication. Chronic pain patients can have the tendency to increase their medication over time to seek relief.
Individual behaviors can include:
- Seeking out of many different doctors or health care providers and facilities to find pain relief.
- Difficulties with job performance. Some people with chronic pain even seek work disability.
- Avoidance of social situations or family members.
When pain is ongoing, you may find you have feelings of bitterness,
frustration, or depression. Some people report they have thoughts of
suicide. If you are having these feelings, tell your doctor. This is important, so that you can get appropriate help, support and even medications to help you feel better.
How Is chronic pain Diagnosed?
Our senior physiotherapist will perform a thorough evaluation. He or she will:
- Ask specific questions about your past and present health and use of medication.
- Ask about your symptoms: their location, intensity, how and when the
pain occurs, and other questions, to form a clear picture of your
- Ask you to fill out pain and function questionnaires, to understand how the pain is affecting your daily life.
- Perform tests and movements with you. The tests help to identify
problems with posture, flexibility, muscle strength, joint mobility, and
movement. Special tests help to rule out any serious health problem
such as pressure on a nerve or an underlying disease.
- Observe how you use your body for home, work, and social/leisure
activities. This information helps your therapist prescribe a program
that will boost your quality of life, and get you moving your best.
Imaging tests such as
- computed tomography (CT) scans
- magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
are often not helpful for diagnosing
the cause of chronic pain.
However, if our senior physiotherapist suspects
that your pain might be caused by any serious underlying condition, he
or she will refer you to our/your medical network doctors for evaluation. We will of course also work with your physician to provide the best diagnosis and treatment for your chronic pain.
How Can our senior PhysioTherapists Help?
We will work with you to educate you on chronic
pain, find solutions to improve your quality of life, and get you moving
again! He or she will help you improve movement, teach you pain
management strategies, and, in many cases, reduce your pain.
Not all chronic pain is the same. We will evaluate your
clinical examination and test results and design an individualized
treatment plan that fits you best.
Our physiotherapy treatments may include:
Education to improve your knowledge and
understanding of chronic pain - how it occurs, and what you can do
about it. We will teach you how to manage your pain and help
you work toward performing your normal daily activities again.
Strengthening and flexibility exercises to help you
move more easily with less discomfort. Your therapist will design a
program of graded exercises for you - movements that are gradually
increased according to your abilities. Graded exercises help you improve
your coordination and movement, reducing the stress and strain on your
body, and decreasing your pain. Carefully introducing a graded exercise
program will help train your brain to sense the problem area in your
body without increasing its danger messages.
Manual therapy, which consists of specific, gentle,
hands-on techniques that may be used to manipulate or mobilize tight
joint structures and soft tissues. Manual therapy is used to
movement (range of motion)
- improve the quality of the tissues
- reduce pain
Posture awareness and body mechanics instruction to
help improve your posture and movement. This training helps you use your
body more efficiently while performing activities and even when you are
resting. We will help you adjust your movement at work, or
when performing chores or recreational activities, to reduce your pain
and increase your ability to function.
Patients with chronic pains will definitely benefit from
- regular deep tissue release therapy to ensure the muscles are optimal for energy and movement, and it also helps to regulate circulation for recovery and healing
- clinical pilates improves your core strength which will help you improve your ability to move and participate in life
Back to Top
Phoenix Rehab physio Services
Phoenix Rehab Group works with specialist
physiotherapists and rehab therapists who are highly
trained, qualified, experienced and passionate to provide high level of
expert care to our patients.
PHYSIOTHERAPY & PHYSICAL THERAPY
HAND THERAPY & SPLINTING
Patients who sustained injuries to their elbows, forearms, hands, wrists
(sprains and fractures) and fingers, and requires Hand Therapy to increase the function of their hand
following injuries or post-operations as well as custom made hand splints.
Commonly treated hand pain injuries includes
CLINICAL PILATES & WELLNESS PILATES
Clinical Pilates is a form of physical exercise that focuses on
- core stability
- flexibility and
It is a system of safe and effective exercises, which
meet specific individual needs, to treat a wide range of injuries
You may do Pilates as matwork or with the reformer or both, and every session will be customized 100% to your fitness, injury and tolerance.
TRADITIONAL CHINESE MEDICINE (TCM)
DEEP TISSUE RELEASE & SPORTS MASSAGE THERAPY
Sports and deep tissue release massage helps to increase nutrient-rich blood
flow to tired, tight and tense muscles to
- accelerate recovery and
- shorten downtime / recovery period required
It also prevents
muscles from scar tissue micro-tears (and potential ruptures), and increases muscle
Done regularly, it will keeps your muscles healthy and fit with body/movement-confidence. Read the benefits of regular deep tissue release therapy here.
All our allied health therapists and TCM physicians are fully insured and registered with Allied Health Professions Council (AHPC) and Traditional Chinese Medicine Board (TCMB).
See our entire team here with introductions and their specializations.
At the first session, our specialist physiotherapists will carry out a thorough
assessment, helping them to select the most appropriate treatment to
help you recover as well as provide treatment in the same session.
Follow up sessions are inline to provide
expert treatment for your pain as well as prescribing specific
exercises to reduce your risk of re-injury and giving you a long term
do Tell Your Family, Friends And Colleagues About Us =)
We appreciate you as our valued clients and want you to know that the #1 way we grow as a clinic/brand is through word of mouth referrals from valued patients like yourself.
We do not rely on advertising - instead, we prefer and appreciate the goodwill and positive reinforcement from patients. When you have the chance, please tell your family, friends and physicians about the positive results and experience you have had in our physio clinics.