July 2014

Chronic Pain

National Pain Week 21-27 July

1 in five Australians live with chronic pain

For these people chronic pain can have a severe impact on their quality of life and also impact their family and care givers. Chronic pain should have a management plan like other chronic conditions such as asthma or diabetes. The management plan should include a general maintenance programme and an action plan for flare-ups.

Your physiotherapist can help by assessing your pain to provide you with an individualised management programme. Your programme might include:

  • Specific stretches to decrease tightness & stiffness
  • Specific strengthening to improve function
  • Providing active coping strategies in place of passive coping strategies resulting in better pain management

The aim of a chronic pain management plan is improved quality of life and to decrease the severity, frequency and length of flare-ups.

The Pain Journey

People in pain helped to create an overview of what is involved in the pain journey.  It is not simple, as pain is a highly complex and individual experience.

The following are some of their ideas:-

  1. Understand as much as you can about the causes and the processes of chronic pain.

a).  What a health team can do for you?

b).  What can you do?

  1. See the potential in yourself to be different to what you were before pain.
  2. Lean strategies for dealing with pain – isolation, fatigue and the depression that often follows pain.
  3. Live the best life you can (nationalpainweek.org.au)

Pain is Ageless

Chronic pain doesn’t discriminate, it affects people across the lifespan (nationalpainweek.org.au).  Chronic Pain Australia want to spread the word that it is okay to say you have pain and to ask for help no matter what age or stage you are at.

The second most common symptom after pain experienced by chronic pain sufferers is tightness and stiffness. For many chronic pain sufferers they report that this tightness can increase their pain levels. An assessment of your chronic pain can provide an individualised stretching programme to alleviate the tightness.

Chronic pain sufferers report tightness and stiffness. Remedial massage is of great benefit in managing the tightness associated with chronic pain when carried out with a home stretching programme.

While chronic pain sufferers struggle with tightness and spasm of some muscles, other muscles will have become weak. Asking your physio to assess your chronic pain can lead to a graduated strengthening programme specific to your needs.

Weakened muscles associated with chronic pain do not provide good support for the painful area and also impact function and the ability to carry out ordinary daily tasks impacting quality of life. Strengthening exercises developed by a Physiotherapist  will aim to improve your function and ability to carry out the tasks you need to as well as hopefully keeping you doing the things you love to do.

If you live with chronic pain ask your physiotherapist for an assessment