What kind of pain is it?

When I see many people for the first physical therapy visit, one of the things we discuss is what the pain feels like. For some people, this is a difficult question to handle. Pain can be debilitating and life-altering. If you know anyone with chronic pain, fibromyalgia or complex regional pain syndrome, you may have witnessed changes in personality, appearance and behavior.

Pain can be sharp, dull, ache, burn, throb, numb- these are just a few common types of descriptors for pain. These descriptors can lead us to select interventions and treatments more effectively, leading to a better outcome.

" I feel better when I take my pills..."

Your physician may have prescribed anti-inflammatory medication or muscle relaxants to stop inflammation and relieve the pain. This is helpful initially but is not the solution to the problem. There can often be a mechanical issue leading to biomechanical stress on joints, which leads to inflammation and begins the cycle of pain.

The key to eliminating your pain is identify the source or cause of the pain or inflammatory episode- sometimes this can be an awkward movement, an overzealous increase in exercise, a lack of strength in a specific area or poor biomechanics.

Some people believe that pain can be due to an anatomical defect such as a disc herniation or a meniscal tear. While this may be true some of the time, research shows that many injuries can be managed conservatively, without surgery and without a recurrence of symptoms. The key is evaluating the individual, assessing needs and addressing the "weaknesses" at hand such as inflammation, strength and range of motion. What sets us apart as a physical therapy office is our ability to identify these factors and guide you through a quick recovery.

 

Tidbits

Headaches can originate from the neck!

Many people are plagued by headaches, often during the work day while sitting, especially those living and working in NYC. Some people note relief with Imitrex or aspririn, but many can benefit from an Physical Therapist's assessment of their posture and flexibility.

Too often, people place unnecessary stress on the neck muscles while sitting at a desk, driving and reading. The head and chin begin to drift forward and the neck extensors become tight, leading to a decrease in local blood flow and increase in tension.

Relieving the tension, improving flexibility and becoming aware of posture can help with headaches quickly and without further medication.

The benefits of dealing with pain early.

Much the same way that when you have a bleeding wound and must bandage it, you should attend to any painful symptoms early on. The pain is there for a reason and there are specialists that can help you determine the cause of your pain. Physical Therapy is one way of dealing with the pain in a non-invasive, progressive manner.

Pain is part of a vicious, self-perpetuating cycle: pain leads to immobility, immobility leads to weakness, weakness leads to a decreased tolerance to pain and the cycle continues.

Remember, you always have options available in treatment but failing to act denies you a chance to succeed.