Chronic Pain Management
Chronic Pain is often complicated because it can involve not just a physical sensation, but an emotional one as well. This feeling or sensation can present itself in many different forms, and in varying intensities, depending on the source and the individual.
Components of Pain
Pain is complex in that it can present itself both physically and emotionally. There is a component of what it means to feel pain that is purely physical and involves a direct sensation from a physical stimuli that is sent to the brain for processing.
Once the pain signal reaches the brain, there is an emotional component that comes into play and helps determine how an individual will react to the sensation of pain. This will determine how one registers the pain stimuli and perceives it as good or bad.
The Meaning of Pain
Regardless of how one might personally register pain, it has a biological role that is consistent across every species that experiences it. From a biological standpoint, the purpose of experiencing pain is to alarm the brain that there is something physically wrong.
For example, when one gets injured, the brain sends a signal from receptor neurons, known as nociceptors, that a part of the body was harmed. Subsequently, the most common response to this is to avoid further harm or injury.
Pain can be categorized into two types, acute and chronic. Acute pain is usually sudden and one is generally aware of the cause of pain and how long it is likely to last. An example of acute pain would be running into a desk or table. One knows that the pain being experienced is a result of impact and that it will likely be gone in a short period of time, depending on the intensity of the impact.
Chronic pain, however, is long lasting and one is often unable to locate the source of pain. An example of chronic pain is neuropathy, a condition categorized by pain signals being sent to the brain from a general area, typically the hands or feet. Pain resulting from neuropathy often comes and goes for extended periods of time until treated. The patient won’t know what the true source of pain is until diagnosed, at which point one will know that it can be due to carpal tunnel syndrome, diabetes or an autoimmune disease, among other possibilities.
Chronic Pain, Inflammation, and The Nervous System
Chronic pain that is not a result of nerve damage is typically due to stimulation of local receptor endings by inflammation. These receptor endings then send constant pain signals to the central nervous system.
The central nervous system is composed of the brain and spinal cord, with everything else falling under the peripheral nervous system. Receptor endings, for example, and the network of neurons that propagate a pain signal to the brain are part of the peripheral nervous system.
Inflammation is a common cause of chronic pain that stems from tissue damage due to repetitive motions, trauma or muscular imbalance. Inflammation can be described as a collection of fluid that contains the components that will repair the damaged tissue. This concentration of fluid exerts pressure on local receptor endings, therefore generating pain signals.
Tissue damage that originates from bad posture and sudden movements can lead to inflammation in areas where it is difficult to disperse the fluid and, therefore, are a constant source of pain.
In these instances, physical therapies that can improve posture, correct movements, and increase circulation are the answer to reducing inflammation and therefore treating chronic pain.
Physical Therapies that Help With Chronic Pain
Body work such as massage therapy, acupuncture, and CORE’s own Sports ChiroTherapy can help improve circulation and correct various sources of chronic pain due to tissue damage. Massage therapy increases circulation and helps relieve inflammation by distributing the concentration of fluids away from a localized area. Acupuncture works with the body’s flow of energy to help disperse fluids and promote self-healing by restoring balance to the body. Meanwhile, Sports ChiroTherapy uses a combination of Hanson Muscle Therapy (HMT) and traditional chiropractic work to correct muscular imbalances and alleviate pain.
All of these services are offered at Santa Cruz CORE, which makes us a unique facility that offers diverse forms of healing under one roof. If chronic pain is a problem in your life, remember that the experts at CORE are here to help. Give us a call start your path to healing today!
- “Understanding Pain.” Mayo Clinic. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Apr. 2017. <http://www.mayoclinic.org/understanding-pain/art-20208632>.
- Pendick, Daniel. “Acupuncture Is worth a Try for Chronic Pain.” Harvard Health Blog. N.p., 01 Apr. 2013. Web. 08 Apr. 2017. <http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/acupuncture-is-worth-a-try-for-chronic-pain-201304016042>.