Pain is Normal, Chronic Pain is Not
Surprisingly, experiencing pain is absolutely normal. It’s your body’s response to harmful stimulus. In turn, this protects you from danger or alerts you of potential danger. Undeniably, the sensation of pain is important for survival and safety. Pain is felt by people of all ages. Sometimes children experience severe pain from simply growing up. Other times, adolescents are diagnosed with chronic illnesses. Adults even experience pain based on the lifestyle choices they make.
But living in chronic pain is not normal. And it’s absolutely a reason to seek out professional help, even if patients are very young. Let’s explain what we mean.
When you become injured – such as an injury to the ligaments, muscles, or joints – healing frequently happens within 3 to 6 months. If you’re experiencing chronic pain syndrome, you should generally expect it to resolve within this timeframe. This is especially true if you’re seeking out appropriate, non-opioid treatment for your pain.
But what about when chronic pain persists?
Chronic pain, sometimes called chronic pain syndrome, is defined as pain that lasts longer than 6 months.
How the Brain is Responsible for Chronic Pain Syndrome
Many people commonly ask, ‘Is chronic pain all in my head?’ The truth is that the brain judges whether or not a situation is threatening or dangerous. And ultimately, the brain decides if you experience pain or not.
For instance, you step off the curb and badly sprain your ankle. You likely expect to feel pain. But what if you step off that curb, sprain your ankle, and look up to see a bus coming toward you? In that moment, your brain decides that moving out of the street is much more important to your survival than experiencing the pain caused by your sprained ankle. During this brief period of time, your brain does not register the pain in your ankle since this would prevent you from moving quickly out of the way.
The same concept applies to the stories about soldiers who suffer an injury during battle, yet they don’t realize they’ve been hurt until the battle is over. Or there’s the injured athlete who makes the game-winning play with an elbow injury. Or there’s the badly burned father who runs back into the burning house to save his child.
Pain is a complicated concept. And thus, so is chronic pain. But there are Solutions to it
SOLUTION: Chronic Pain Management: Understanding is Step One
It’s important to remember that it’s never too late to begin orthopedic physical therapy, and seek Consultation You may be experiencing severe pain. You might even think that the PT pain will be worse than the chronic pain you experience.
It won’t be.
Yes, your therapist will work you hard. They test you. They expect you to work hard, too. But it’s about more than working hard. You also need to gain an understanding of the pain you experience.
The more you understand chronic pain syndrome, the better you are able to manage it. This is where a professional can help. If you’re experiencing discomfort, book a physical therapy appointment. A physical therapist can treat the injury, as well as educate you about how chronic pain management works.