What is Chronic Pain?
To understand chronic pain, it is helpful to consider that pain is experienced along a spectrum of physical and emotional responses. Physical pain can generally be broken down into two categories: musculoskeletal-relating to bones, muscles, joints, and the tendons and ligaments that connect them, and neuropathic-relating to nerves.
At the primary level are the pain signals the nervous system sends out in response to tissue damage. This occurs in the peripheral nervous system, which relays the sensory information to the central nervous system. Pain sensation is the way in which your brain interprets and perceives the signals.You may feel the pain in your finger after striking it with a hammer, but you also experience the pain in your mind.
You may then think about these perceptions and assign them significance, such as a quick assessment of the threat level of the pain. These thoughts can even turn emotional, wherein you may experience fear, depression, or anxiety about the injury. Negative emotions of pain can lead to suffering. This is a deeper experience of pain in which one struggles to cope with the “meaning” the pain has come to represent. Suffering is not just how much an injury may hurt, it’s the dwelling on how your broader life is affected as a result.
The final stage of pain experience is how a person behaves in response. Pain behaviors might include limping, restricted movement, and taking pain medications. Managing chronic pain requires attention to both the physical and mental aspects of the experience.
Pain is considered chronic when it persists for more than 3 to 6 months. It can linger long past when the original injury has healed. For some people the pain can become so internalized that the brain experiences pain signals despite the absence of pain stimuli.
Neuropathic pain, caused by damage to the nerves, is often harder to treat than musculoskeletal. Common medications such as NSAIDs and Opioids are usually not effective against neuropathic pain. Furthermore, the source of neuropathic pain can be difficult to determine, and treatment delays can make the pain more entrenched.
Recognizing the Symptoms of Chronic Pain
Take note if you are experiencing the following symptoms:
- Pain persists for more than 3 months
- Recurring headaches
- Numbness, weakness or tingling
- Stabbing or burning sensation
- Joint or muscle stiffness, inability to move
- Pain spreads throughout the body
- Sensitivity to heat or cold
Pain symptoms vary from person to person and can change over time. If you experience pain that does not seem to go away, we recommend you come in for a consultation. Make an appointment online anytime.
We are here to help
Our mission is to provide a timely and sustainable recovery. We practice a wide range of evidence-based techniques to aid in your recovery, customized for each patient.
Chiropractic Manipulative Treatment to help restore your full range of motion.
Therapy modalities such as cold laser or electric stimulation to minimize muscle tightness, pain, and swelling.
Neuromuscular Massage Therapy to improve circulation and reduce pain.
Therapeutic stretching to increase your flexibility.
Irondequoit Chiropractic Center is proud to have serves the Rochester community for more than 20 years. You can schedule an appointment anytime by contacting our office.