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CHRONIC PAIN MANAGEMENT

"Physiotherapy helps people with long term (chronic) pain develop the skills they need to manage their condition, increase their activity and improve their quality of life."



Chronic pain is often defined as any pain lasting more than 12 weeks. Whereas acute pain is a normal sensation that alerts us to possible injury.


It is helpful to understand the differences between chronic, persistent pain and acute pain.


Acute pain: short-term pains act as an alarm, telling us that something is wrong. While most minor pains are easily treated and quickly forgotten, others are a sign of something more serious that we shouldn't ignore. For example, the pain of a broken leg is helpful because it makes us rest the leg until it heals.


Chronic pain: persistent pain though often serves no useful purpose. The pain messages linked to long-term conditions such as back pain or arthritis are not helpful, and can be annoying and sometimes devastating.


Other health problems, such as fatigue, sleep disturbance, decreased appetite, and mood changes, often accompany chronic pain. Over time, the pain may affect how we function, including our ability to work and our sleep patterns.


The nerve network associated with chronic pain is also linked to those parts of the brain concerned with emotions. So, pain can affect our emotions, and our emotions can affect our pain. If we are angry, depressed or anxious, for example, the pain often feels worse. If we are feeling positive and happy, we may experience less pain and will often be better able to cope.


Pain then is never "just in the mind" or “just in the body”, but a complex mix affecting our whole being.


The relationship between body and mind is complex, so it is important to seek help for any aspect of your condition that you might be struggling with, physical or mental.