I often have people come into my office who have been dealing with pain for a long time. These people suffering from chronic pain are often frustrated, depressed and anxious. Anything they do may set off their pain, they’ve tried “everything” and sometimes they feel there is no hope and that they just have to “live with it”. In the article “Where pain lives” the author discusses how science is learning that chronic pain isn’t just “acute pain that goes on and on”.
There are several possible mechanisms of how chronic pain starts, propagates and persists, but they all take into account that pain doesn’t equal tissue damage. Meaning that patients with chronic pain no longer have injured or damaged tissue (muscles, ligaments, discs, nerves) that might’ve have long ago been a mechanism for pain, but suffer from the brain creating “circuits” that constant re-live the pain or becoming hypersensitive to any form of stimuli, known as “central sensitisation”.
It is important for people living with chronic pain to understand what they are going through and the specific brain changes that have allowed their pain to continue and then take steps to rehab and strengthen their body knowing that “hurt does not typically mean harm”. There are no pharmaceutical means to treat this type of pain yet but there has been a lot of success using “Cognitive Behavioral Therapy” and graded “non-pain contingent” exercises. I have always said that my “ideal” practice includes a pain psychologist for this reason.
This article contains a lot more detailed information and deserves a read. I hope you will take the time and learn something from it and if you have more questions please feel free to contact me at Pro-Motion Chiropractic.