Chronic pain is persistent pain that lasts weeks to years and may be caused by inflammation or dysfunctional nerves. It is a condition that affects more than 3 million people each year, significantly impacting their quality of life and well-being. Physical therapy has emerged as a key component in managing chronic pain, with education playing a crucial role in the rehabilitation process.
Understanding Chronic Pain
Chronic pain is persistent discomfort lasting for weeks, months, or even years. Unlike acute pain, a warning sign of injury or illness, chronic pain can become a condition. Education is the first step in chronic pain management in Bethesda, empowering individuals struggling with chronic pain by helping them comprehend the complexities of their condition. For instance, did you know that pain levels and tissue damage are very poorly correlated in those with chronic pain?
Neuroplasticity and Pain Perception
Chronic pain management in physical therapy introduces the concept of neuroplasticity, where the brain changes in response to pain stimuli. By understanding this concept, individuals can recognize that biological, psychological, and social factors influence pain, offering hope for positive changes through targeted interventions. In some cases, targeted treatments such as manual therapy, neural mobilization and dry needling are key components to help assist changes in neuroplasticity and pain perception. In others, a more active approach utilizing graded exposure and externally-focused exercise is more important.
Breaking the Pain
Education in physical therapy focuses on breaking the cycle of chronic pain. By learning more about pain, individuals can identify triggers, understand how stress and emotions contribute, and work with their physical therapist to develop strategies that build successful chronic pain management skills.
Bethesda chronic pain management education helps set realistic expectations for recovery. Individuals learn that complete elimination of pain may not always be achievable, but significant improvements in functionality and quality of life are realistic goals.
Active vs. Passive Treatments
Passive interventions such as manual therapy and modalities help individuals understand the importance of incorporating exercises, lifestyle modifications, and self-management techniques to promote long-term relief. Individuals must take an active approach in their recovery process to see results.
Chronic pain management in physical therapy adopts a holistic approach, considering the interconnectedness of physical, emotional, and social factors. By understanding this, individuals can address the physical symptoms and the emotional and lifestyle factors contributing to their condition and how to best modify that to limit their discomfort.
Chronic pain management skills empower individuals by equipping them with self-management techniques. Depending on the patient’s needs and goals, they will be provided with detailed home instructions on what to do to assist their plan of care. Physical therapy education covers strategies such as progressive exercise, mindfulness, relaxation techniques, stress management, and pacing activities to help individuals regain control over their lives and reduce the impact of pain.
Ongoing Support and Resources
With the help of physical therapy, therapists’ help can extend beyond the clinic, providing individuals with chronic pain access to ongoing support and resources. This may include educational materials, support groups, and online resources to create a network that reinforces knowledge gained through therapy.
Chronic Pain Management in Bethesda
If you’re looking for chronic pain management, Bethesda Physiocare can help. We offer pain management education, manual therapy, and more to help you find relief. Call (301) 656-5613 to schedule an appointment today and learn more about our individualized services.