Working Backwards through the Pain Patterns
Chronic pain comes in many forms. It can be a recurrence of headaches, neck or spine pain, pain in the shoulders or legs, or just an overall feeling that the body just is not capable of functioning correctly anymore without restrictions. Did you know that chronic pain is defined as any pain that has been present for more than 3 months? Pain can feed on itself, and can increase with time, or can become immune to medications that once helped. It can lead to restricted movement patterns, which, in turn, leads to more pain. This additional pain can then begin to occur in other parts of the body. This is when patients come to PT and say “ I am just falling apart”. Taking each layer off of the pattern is part of the treatment for chronic pain, as we work our way backwards through the pain that has piled on to the original symptoms. This can take time, but there should be evidence of steady progress during treatment. If physical therapy on all levels is not attempted with these patients ( manual therapy, trigger point dry needling, active muscle re-education), then the full picture is not being addressed. Taking these patients out of their injury patterns of movement is difficult, but is the start of the path toward healing.