Our pain system is an alarm that warns us when we’ve injured our body. Pain signals to us that we need to rest and change our behaviour to heal our injuries. Most soft tissues such as ligaments, tendons, muscles and bones will heal in around 12 weeks. Therefore, you would expect pain signals to reduce as the injured tissue heals. The trouble though is that this isn’t always the case!
Scientists believe that environment and genes can play a role in determining who does and doesn’t experience persistent pain. Stress, anxiety, worry and beliefs around pain can lead to prolonged pain. These feelings can keep the pain system sensitised in the brain.
What can we do about persistent pain?
When managing persistent pain, everyone’s situation is unique and therefore requires a personalised approach to treatment.
As physiotherapists, we need to look at your condition more broadly, in addition to specifically looking at the original area that was injured. We may ask you questions about your lifestyle, such as your stress levels, sleep, fears, beliefs and general health. This will help us to determine which techniques can best reduce your pain. Techniques may include graded exercise, sleep changes, meditation, relaxation and mindfulness, all of which are essential for promoting a calm environment in which the pain can settle.
In addition, it’s important for you to have a basic understanding about how pain works. Once you understand why you have persistent pain and how common it is, your condition can instantly feel like scary, and you may feel less anxiety or worry around the issue. The more you understand, the more empowered you may feel to manage your pain.
Here at Sports Focus Physiotherapy, we have the knowledge and experience to help treat those who are experiencing persistent pain. If you’re struggling with a pain problem, come in to see us at one of our Sydney clinics. Book online today to find out how we can help you move forwards.