DO YOU SUFFER FROM CHRONIC PAIN?
Acute pain versus Chronic pain
Chronic pain is a serious medical problem, affecting as many as 1 in 5 Australians (BUPA Health Foundation 2011).It has become an epidemic that is costing the health system up to 34 billion dollars each year. Worst of all, chronic pain is often resistant to treatment.
Acute pain is an intensely unpleasant sensation transmitted by the nervous system to alert you to a real or impending injury -like a bruise, cut, burn or an infection like a toothache. It’s a warning that something is wrong with your body, and that you need to take action. It can trigger you to remove your hand from a hot stove or to get rid of those shoes that make your feet hurt every time you wear them. Pain is a powerful protective mechanism: those who cannot feel it, whether from a genetic condition or from an acquired disease of peripheral nerves like diabetic neuropathy , can suffer some serious consequences. Normally the acute pain is short lived-when the injury has healed ,the pain is gone.
In some situations, acute pain turns into chronic pain, persisting for months or even years and does not necessarily respond to treatment. Chronic is classically defined as pain that lasts longer than three months. It can be affected by the physical (eg sitting or standing), environmental and psychological factors. Chronic pain often cannot be treated or cured, it can only be managed. Therefore, chronic pain may reduce quality of life, well-being and ability to function over the long term.
The cause of chronic pain
There are a variety of issues responsible for causing chronic pain. Researches have spent a lot of time understanding what causes chronic pain and how to get relief. Typical origins of chronic pain include sports injuries and car accidents . For those living with chronic pain, there are a variety of ways you can manage it, such as getting help when you need it, relaxing the body and mind, exercise and what you eat are all part of the contributing factors and can help to alleviate some of your chronic pain.
Research has shown that exercise can be an effective way to reverse the downward cycle of deconditioning and serious pain. Gradually over time low intense exercise has been found to help those with chronic pain engage more in activities of enjoyment and essential activities of daily living with greater ease.
What about the natural therapies, like Remedial Massage Therapy?
Fibromyalgia and arthritis are two chronic pain syndromes that can be positively impacted by massage therapy. In a study of massage therapy for osteoarthritis in the knees, a group receiving massage therapy showed significant improvement in pain, stiffness and physical function. They increased their range of motion and reduced the time it took them to walk 15 metres. In another study conducted by the Touch Research Institute, people with arthritis in their wrist and hand reported less pain and greater grip strength following massage therapy. They also had lower anxiety and better mood scores.
People with chronic pain often turn to massage therapy to help naturally improve their quality of life. In most cases, chronic pain can be very debilitating and often causes further complications that create a vicious cycle of worsening pain. For example, many people tend to have difficulty sleeping. After a while, they become so tired and their patience may become affected to a point where everything in day to day life can become difficult to deal with. Some find that they have to give up work which leads to financial pressure that can cause stress. Some who suffer chronic pain tend to present with a combination of fear, irritability, anxiety and depression. Massage therapy used as a part of a multidisciplinary approach to managing chronic pain provides a hands on approach to soft tissue pain and dysfunction with benefits that extend beyond the pain areas. It is also known to release one of the body’s natural pain killer’s serotonin. Serotonin is one of the body’s natural anti-pain chemicals.
The use of natural health methods today,as well as when indicated , prescription medications , can help treat the the cause of chronic pain. If you would like to find out more about how Remedial Massage, can help you improve your health and wellbeing and assist in management of chronic pain, contact us on 9887 4144. Michelle and Danny are our Remedial Massage Therapists.