Chronic pain is often defined as pain that lasts for more than three months, or beyond the expected healing time for an injury. The type of pain you experience may vary, and it may come and go or stay the same. Because it is a general term, it refers to pain caused by a variety of causes and could occur anywhere in the body.
The type and intensity of the pain can range from mild to severe, where it could disrupt daily life and be debilitating. Persistent pain can also make it difficult to exercise and lead a healthy lifestyle and can contribute to mental health struggles.
What causes chronic pain?
The cause of your chronic pain could be many different things, or it might not even be known. A physiotherapist can help you to investigate the potential causes of your chronic pain to identify a diagnosis. Some common causes of chronic pain include:
- Strains and sprains
- Back pain
- Nerve damage
How Physiotherapy Approaches Chronic Pain
A physiotherapist is familiar with anatomy and physiology and can help you to develop an exercise program that is least likely to exacerbate your pain and may even help to reduce your discomfort.
We are aiming to promote natural and healthy function wherever possible within your body and can work with you to develop a treatment plan to help manage your chronic pain in conjunction with other healthcare professionals such as your GP.
Some of the key things a physiotherapist can do to help you manage chronic pain include:
- Pain management techniques such as acupuncture, massage and hot and cold packs to manage pain, swelling and inflammation. Physiotherapists can not only provide many of these techniques in your session, but they can also give you advice about how to manage your pain flare-ups at home.
- Provide you with an individualised exercise plan that helps you to build strength and flexibility while working around your pain and pacing your exercise to avoid causing more pain
- Advice on the use of assistive devices or equipment that might help to reduce pain, such as walking aids
- Physiotherapists can suggest ways of exercising that are more likely to be helpful or achievable with your pain. For example, if you are struggling to go to the gym because of your chronic back pain, they might suggest swimming or another form of exercise.
- Advice on which muscles or areas to strengthen to provide relief for the pain. For example, chronic pain may arise from overusing certain muscles while others have grown weak. A physiotherapist can assess your movement and identify areas that might require change.
Did you know that you may be eligible for financial assistance to see a physiotherapist?
If your chronic pain is due to a disability that is approved by the NDIS, you may be able to use funds from your NDIS plan to cover the costs of physiotherapy as part of core supports or capacity building. We can help you to build a service agreement and you can bring your NDIS plan along to the session. Learn more in our blog about accessing physiotherapy services through the NDIS here.
Why choose Sycamore
Our friendly physiotherapists can help you to identify the cause of your pain, as well as assist you to develop techniques that manage it and improve your quality of life.
At Sycamore, we are movement optimists and we don’t believe in the ‘wrong’ posture causing your pain. We will work with you to identify what ways of sitting, moving and walking work for you.
One thing we think it’s important to be mindful of is our small habits, such as ‘neurotags’. This refers to neurons that fire together with a trigger. People who have experienced pain for a long time may ingrain the pain into their current state by bracing themselves, holding their breath, or reinforcing pain through movements. Our physiotherapists can help you to learn different habits that don’t involve stress or hypervigilance.
All information is general in nature. Patients should consider their own personal circumstances.