Chronic pain can be a significant problem for many Australians – with 1 in 5 Australians suffering from chronic pain. It can be extremely debilitating, impacting a person’s relationships, sleeps cycle, sex life and ability to exercise resulting in severe consequences to their social and work life.
It is an invisible condition that often has no visible external signs to highlight that there is something wrong. Experiencing chronic pain can be like wearing an invisibility cloak that can lead to people thinking that they must suffer in silence, and feel isolated or ostracised. This impacts not only a person’s physical health, but their mental and emotional health as well – rates of depression are much higher with people in chronic pain.
Chronic pain is a separate disease entity from the acute pain that is associated with physical injury. It is pain that persists long after the tissue healing has taken place, and is caused by complex neurophysiological changes in the body which causes the nervous system to become wired in a way that is highly sensitised for pain and produces more pain signals. Basically, the nervous system tells the brain that there is pain without anything physically occurring to cause this reaction.
Your doctor or physio may refer or recommend that you seek some additional help from allied health practitioners including an exercise physiologist or psychologist. This is because chronic pain is complex and all aspects of the condition should be addressed. Regardless of the various treatments that you may seek, it is important to recognise that there several key things that you can do to take back some control of your life. Diet, sleep, exercise, and mindfulness can assist in re-establishing a healthy nervous system. Your physio or exercise physiologist may be able to help you establish an exercise routine, and give you further advice, or refer you to someone who can help.
To find out more, visit one of these websites:
Or watch the below video from Brainmain that can be found at https://www.youtube.com/user/HunterBrainman/videos
Image reference – http://img.medscape.com/thumbnail_library/dt_150916_chronic_pain_headache_migraine_800x600.jpg