Understanding Chronic Pain: The Physio Difference
Let’s talk about the Physio Difference regarding chronic pain. This is something we see fairly often at PhysioPoint, and we think we do things a bit differently than other clinics you may have been to. Chronic pain comes with a whole host of challenges. First, when you’ve had pain for years or maybe months on end, it becomes a very emotional issue. It wears on you.
The Complexity of Pain Perception
Sometimes you’re exhausted before you even get out of bed because you’ve been in pain for so long and you’re just tired of it. When we think about chronic pain, we realize that tissue damage and that perception of pain may not be directly proportional or directly related to the actual injury. For example, a paper cut hurts like the Dickens, but a shark bite where you lose a limb may not even be felt until you get to the ER. This is a crude example, but it’s important to understand that pain is supposed to be useful.
Holistic Approach with The Physio Difference
Unfortunately, sometimes pain may drum into you with no real usefulness. That’s when it becomes difficult not only in terms of pain level, but it’s difficult emotionally and socially when interacting with friends and family who just don’t understand what you’re feeling. We take a holistic approach when implementing the Physio Difference, but we can’t do it alone. We have an endorsed provider list that helps connect you to the optimal person to help you.
Exploring Various Treatment Modalities
Sometimes something as simple as exercise can help. Exercising is a great way to move better, which then allows you to feel better. But sometimes you have to feel better in order to move better—ultimately to then feel better. That sometimes comes in the form of an injection or dry needling, which we can provide. Those may be things you have already tried.
Neuroplasticity and The Hope for Change
The good news is that there are many different ways you can treat the symptom or the scheme of thinking about it. We may find that the root cause of the problem may not actually be tissue related; it may be brain related. This does NOT mean it’s psychosomatic or fake, or anything along those lines. Pain comes from the brain. Without your brain, you wouldn’t know you had pain. The brain is the place where it’s modulated. Now, it’s really important to understand that over time, the brain changes. It adapts. It can adapt positively … or negatively.
Redefining Your Brain’s Response to Pain
So, your chronic pain may be occurring because your brain is getting false warning signals when there is no danger—no tissue damage. When this happens, the brain doesn’t know what’s going on. It’s almost like your brain is crying wolf when there is no wolf. But there is hope! There is a relatively new field of study called neuroplasticity. It basically says that your brain can adapt for the better. People who have spinal cord injuries or strokes, or any sort of neurological condition—given the right stimulus or right input—can actually adapt and retrain the brain to stop crying wolf.
Implementing a Three-Step Process
One of the things that we implement at PhysioPoint is a three-step process for people with chronic pain. It comes from David Butler, an Australian physical therapist and his partner, a doctor named Laura Muir Mosley. One of the things they figured out is that sometimes with chronic pain, the ability of your brain to discern right and left gets diminished.
Lateralization and Reclaiming Brain Space
Raise your right hand. You know what your right hand is, but do you understand or can you perceive right or left if we put a left foot in front of you and put it upside down or give you a left golf club in a series of right golf clubs? Our brain sometimes gets rid of these rudimentary functions in order to keep your brain occupied by painful thoughts and pain perception, which is not good. So, we work to reverse that and restore your ability to perceive right from left, which is called lateralization. We provide a little computer program that helps you regain your ability to lateralize and regain the space in your brain that your pain is taking up.
Mirror Therapy and Safe Movements
The second step in the process is mirror therapy. If you have unavoidable, intractable pain in your left hand, for example, and it’s just killing you, you won’t use it. So, what we do is we take your painful left hand and put a mirror in between you and the opposite limb in the mirror and do movements that would normally cause you pain, while keeping the affected limb or the painful limb out of the picture. This gives your brain the ability to feel safe and it can learn to use the affected limb again without pain.
Visualization for Functional Restoration
The third step is to use visualization. Many of you know about athletes using visualization for sports performance, but we can also use visualization for regaining normal functions. Visualization is far more powerful than you might think. So, if you’re suffering from chronic pain, get yourself in a calm, quiet place and think about doing the activity that would normally cause you pain. Play a round of golf in your head or visualize yourself sleeping through the night and waking up pain-free and getting out of bed feeling like you did when you were 18.
Your Journey Towards Pain Relief Starts Here
So, it may sound very strange, but that is what we do at PhysioPoint for our patients with chronic pain. They’re out of options. They’ve done injections. They’ve seen lots of pain specialists, massage therapists, probably physical therapists, chiropractors, and nutritionists. They are suffering and have no options. What we offer at PhysioPoint is slightly different. We invite you to make an appointment today and begin your journey toward less pain or even freedom from pain altogether.
- We Care About More Than Just Pain: At PhysioPoint, we understand that chronic pain affects your emotions and social life, not just your body.
- Pain Isn’t Always Simple: Sometimes, the pain you feel isn’t directly linked to an injury or damage, and we’re here to help figure it out together.
- Your Brain Can Learn: We believe in the power of neuroplasticity, which means your brain can adapt and learn to manage pain better with the right help.
- Three Steps to Help You: We use a special three-step process that includes helping your brain recognize left and right, using mirrors to manage pain, and using visualization to help improve function.
- Your Path to Less Pain: PhysioPoint offers different, innovative ways to help you manage or even eliminate your pain when other methods haven’t worked.