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Park View

35 Chesswood Road


West Sussex


Tel 01903 230066

June 22, 2012

Chronic Pain.

Pain is useful in telling us when we are damaging ourselves and when an injury needs peace and quiet to recover, but what happens when pain goes on beyond the healing of the injury and for so long that your body adapts to it?  


If you suffer a minor tissue injury it usually gets better within a few short weeks. If, however, the problem does not get better and the pain persists, the nerve pathways carrying the pain messages to the spinal cord and brain may start to change. They progressively need less and less of a stimulus to trigger pain sensations and it may happen that those pathways remain open passing on constant pain messages to the brain. In some, thankfully very few cases, the pain can become extremely severe and debilitating. Those cases will need from a specialist team like the one in the first video below. This is beyond the service that we currently are able to offer.

However, we often see people who have had unresolving pain for years. Frequently, they have modified their activities stopping physical exercise often causing a degree of social isolation. They may have had several examinations, scans and blood tests, none of which have come up with a solution, never mind an answer. Frustration, desperation and stress may set in causing further health deterioration. Discovering the existence of persistent pain syndromes like allodynia is often a relief in itself. Finally an explanation - but the recovery can be difficult , will often need to be self-motivated and require several approaches and lots of patience. But what do you do and where do you start?

Solutions for chronic pain

Painkillers can help, but often people have been taking these for years with little long-term relief. Most commonly used painkillers also carry risks to the digestive system, the liver and the kidneys.

Talking therapies like Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) can help as depression often goes along with ongoing pain.

Physical therapies like Chiropractic and Sports Injury Therapy can also help kick starting a more active lifestyle.

In chronic low back pain for instance restoring movement to a joint left stiff and immobile by previous injury often brings useful relief. It is thought that the treatment does this by re-activating the movement sensors in the muscles and other soft tissues, which send messages into the spinal cord and brain. These movement messages can help blocking the pain pathway.

Exercise is also beneficial. It can also help by blocking the pain pathway gradually increasing exercise tolerance. and by making the body release its own feel good hormones. Exercise can, of course, also be done socially further improving confidence and mood. However, it is important that you are not too enthusiastic to start with as overdoing it may increase your pain putting you off exercising it again. My general guide is that it is OK to hurt while exercising but if that pain persists at an increased level the next day you may have overdone it. Tone it down a bit and you are likely to be OK. Some people can initially only manage a minute or two. This may appear an insignificant amount of exercise but it is a start that should be encouraged and built upon. Be patient, it usually takes a little while to find the right exercise level.

Acupuncture can also help and can be used in conjunction with other treatment approaches. Indeed, most people need several angles of attack to get optimum relief. Even so it can take months to feel significant benefit.

Below you will find two videos. Both of them explain the mechanisms of chronic pain . The second one goes one step further detailing the steps, you can take on your way to conquer this debilitating condition.

If you require any further help feel free to call us on 01903 230066 to discuss your situation.

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