Are There Any Solutions For Chronic Pain? ...And The Real Reason So Many People Struggle With It!
Updated: Nov 14
Chronic pain can have quite the negative undertone when talked about. It's almost the "Scarlet Letter" of pain because so many patient's are given the indication it is their fault in the first place.
WHY CHRONIC PAIN ISN'T YOUR FAULT
Well the truth is, it is absolutely not your fault that you have been struggling with chronic pain over the past few weeks, months, years, or even decades.
And while there is a large association with low back pain and chronic pain, it is definitely not limited to just low back pain. Chronic pain can present in the form of neck pain, headaches, TMJ pain, hip pain, fibromyalgia, nerve pain, weakness, stress, anxiety, and so, so much more.
But to fully understand how milions of people live with chronic pain syndromes, it is paramount to take into consideration the process of the healthcare system you are being peddled around in.
THE PROBLEM WITH THE HEALTHCARE SYSTEM
When you first present your pain/symptoms to your primary healthcare provider, there is a high likelihood that the initial plan will be to take imaging studies (X-Rays) and you will be offered medication. This, of course, is potentially weeks after the symptoms began due to waiting for an appointment.
By the time you receive the results of your imaging studies, you are out of medication and haven't really made any progress. If the X-Rays were inconclusive and/or showed no signs or any reason for pain/injury, you may be dismissed or feel confused. And because this is now becoming more complex, you are prescribed additional medication and then referred to a specialist - as your stress and anxiety intensifies.
Again, weeks pass and the pain persists and worsens because the root cause hasn't even been established yet. During this time, the acute phase of injury (which is the phase where the most pain relief and progress can be made) has progressed to, and through, the subacute phase and has landed in the chronic phase.
In addition to the actual source of pain - whether it is a muscle strain, ligament sprain, tendonitis, etc. - the adjacent areas in your body have now begun to hurt. What was once rotator cuff pain, is now pain extending from the neck, to the back of the shoulder, the front of the shoulder, the side of the arm, and into the elbow. Now you're case is becoming more complicated for the specialist as they struggle to diagnose the actual problem because "nothing is adding up."
They now need help to get the pain manageable, so Pain Management is called into action. Now, stronger pain medication is introduced to the scenario which complicates the situation further.
As stronger and stronger pain medications are prescribed, the nervous system and pain pathways between the brain and body go absolutely haywire.
Pain threshholds are all over the place, what should hurt doesn't hurt, and (when medication wears off) what shouldn't hurt - does hurt!
This is the nervewracking and stressful part of the equation that so many people find themselves in. Various stimuli and activities that should not be perceived as painful to the brain, are now perceived as painful because of the disruption of the pain pathways to and from the source of pain and the brain.
HOW TO STOP CHRONIC PAIN
So where and how do we stop this!?
At Flow Physical Therapy and Wellness in The Woodlands, TX, we specialize in the complexities of chronic pain and the associated dysfunction that comes with. We won't dismiss you because of your unique presentation, as this would only complicate the issue by increasing both your stress and anxiety. We won't invalidate you because you've been in pain for years even though your X-Rays show "nothing is wrong." We won't invalidate you because you've been presribed pain medications in the past and now every other provider thinks you just want pain pills.
We listen to you, we present real answers, we provide real treatment strategies, and we offer real solutions to why you may still be in the pain. And we will address what is now likely a multisystem issue instead of minimizing your pain and symptoms.
But the best way to prevent chronic pain, is to stop it before it becomes a chronic issue. So when you first start to have back pain, knee pain, shoulder pain, headaches, etc, don't wait weeks for an appointment just to be offered medication and unneeded imaging studies. Get to the root cause first with a thorough differential diagnosis evaluation with us, so you can tackle chronic pain before it starts.
Dr. Patrick Thompson, PT, DPT, OCS, Cert. DN
Owner of Flow Physical Therapy and Wellness