Chronic, by definition, ‘persists’ or lasts beyond the time it takes for normal tissue healing to complete. That is, usually beyond 3-6 months. At this stage in your recovery, other body and mind systems become involved in your pain experience, including immune, nervous, hormonal, behavioural and emotional contributors to your pain. So, in managing chronic pain, it’s important to consider multiple factors that may influence your pain experience – this is known as a biopsychosocial approach to management – and these factors are different for everyone. Addressing single factors in isolation (e.g. joint stiffness) is unlikely to make a real difference to your pain experience.
Current evidence now shows us that Rehabilitation and exercise is the most effective modality in managing pain. At Glen Eira Physiotherapy and Physiolates our physios have a special interest in managing chronic pain through the use of rehabilitation and exercise and will design an individualised exercise program for you.
Our approach involves working with your other health professions to:
- Understand the impact of your pain on your life – your physical function, mental health and social interactions.
- Examine your particular pain type. There are different types of pains and each type requires a different approach.
- Help reduce opioid based medications and other pain killers which is an important part of your recovery.
- Work with you to determine what components of care you require, and in what order, to take control of your pain.
These may include:
- Exercise and physical activity
- Meditation and mindfulness
- Education about pain
- Help with pacing activity
- Strategies to cope with pain and low mood
Marcus Bowler who consults at our clinic on Wednesdays and Fridays is also the Clinical lead for the for the Pain Service at Monash Health. He leads a team of doctors and Allied Health professionals that educate, assess, manage and rehabilitate patients with chronic pain. He points to the fact that pain (all types of pain) is an experience. It is defined (by the International Association for the Study of Pain) as, “An unpleasant sensory and emotional experience, associated with actual or potential tissue damage, or described in terms of such damage”. So it is an experience with an emotional element and is shaped by your fears, anxieties and beliefs.