Chronic Pain

June 4, 2012 | By | Reply

Effect on Nervous System and Recent Advances in Physiotherapy Management

Any pain which lasts for more than 2 months can be termed as chronic pain. Chronic pain is a category of pain which has an immediate effect on the nervous system. Any injury resulting in the body causes a release of certain chemicals from the injured sites which have a potential to alter the surface of nerve endings. These sensitized nerve endings in turn causes a barrage of impulses to be sent back to the central nervous system (brain). This ongoing process for more than two months can be then termed as chronic pain. BUT an interesting feature of chronic pain as compared to other pain is its effect on the spinal cord (the relay system of impulses from the injured site to the brain).

In chronic pain there occurs a release of chemicals and opening of receptors which are normally silent under normal circumstances in the spinal cord. Once these receptors open up at the spinal cord level it causes alteration in the mapping of pain in the involved centers of pain at the (brain). And thus the pain perceiving centre in the brain becomes now what is called as centrally sensitized. Thus it can be seen how your simple back pain would have an immediate effect on your brain.

This SENSITISATION is further aggravated by the thought processes involved with chronic pain. It is commonly seen that patients become hyper vigilant about their pain, fearful or even avoid movement out of this fear. These behavioral patterns further aggravate the sensitization phenomenon explained above and in turns sets in a vicious cycle. This cycle has catastrophic events. The more amount of time this cycle goes on the more anxious becomes the patient and anxiety can lead us to making nasty decisions. It is also reported in literature this cycle leads to depression and it is depression caused by this chronic pain that is even a cause of death in certain cases.

Due to advances in sciences and improved understanding amongst physiotherapists we help you in the first place to restore your movement and cure your pain so this nasty cycle does not set in or even if it does, with the help of cognitive behavioral therapy we help to break it and restore the body back to its original movement. By the different techniques explained in manual therapy we provide an immediate effect on the pain causing structures and thus altering the pain impulse output from the same and in turn having an immediate effect on this pain cycle explained above. Further with exercise therapy we also see to it that the body is capable of restoring itself back to complete normalcy.

Vicious Cycle of Pain and the Nervous System

It is also noted in certain cases even after surgical intervention it has had a minimal effect on the above pain cycle and patient persists to be in pain. Thus keeping in mind the recent advances in science and also the bio-psycho- social model from which the patient presents to the clinic we help you to cure your long standing pain.

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