Chronic pain. A scary couple words. For many people, this means they live the rest of their lives dealing with pain that never goes away. The disorder is thought to affect more than 20% of all Americans according to the CDC. The Cleveland Clinic, a highly regarded source for medical information, says that there is no cure for chronic pain. All this seems to make a bleak outlook for the millions of people experiencing chronic pain. But what if we treated it differently?
Typically, a doctor will turn to one of two things to try and treat a patient with chronic pain: drugs and/or physical therapy. While drugs may be the answer to some cases, they have side-effects, can be addictive, and seldom address the cause of pain. Although drugs have a place in treating the symptoms of chronic pain, the ultimate goal should be to move toward a drug-free solution.
Physical therapy usually involves a search for the root cause of the pain, and then treatment of that cause. This can be a better approach for several reasons. Firstly, the cause can be addressed to permanently provide pain relief. Secondly, the patient can learn exercises that they can do at home to address the cause for the rest of their life and make sure the pain never returns. This is preferable because there is no dependence on drugs, and there are none of the side-effects of drugs. It may also be cheaper in the long run. But what if I told you it could be better?
Traditionally, physical therapists look for weakness, tightness, or inflammation in the body and to identify the cause of chronic pain. This can be very effective, but we sometimes take it a step further, by treating the nervous system. Recent research indicates that irregularities of the nervous system are often linked to chronic pain. A nervous system that is constantly in the sympathetic “fight or flight mode” can contribute to muscle tightness and weakness, meaning that treating the muscle alone may not solve the problem. So why not treat the nervous system and the muscle? Research, as well as success seen in our own patients, supports the use of novel microcurrent therapies (not TENS) as effective mechanisms to target nervous tissues and reduce chronic pain. The mechanisms behind the effectiveness of this treatment likely have to do with a “downregulation” effect of an overly sensitive nervous system.
So are you ready to try something new? At Synergy, we look to combine traditional, movement-based therapy with nervous system therapy to achieve unbelievable results. Give us a call, and we can tailor a unique plan to treat your chronic pain for good.
The Cleveland Clinic: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/4798-chronic-pain
The CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/67/wr/mm6736a2.htm
Treede, Rolf-Detlef et al. “A classification of chronic pain for ICD-11.” Pain vol. 156,6 (2015): 1003-1007. doi:10.1097/j.pain.0000000000000160
Tousignant-Laflamme Y, Goffaux P, Bourgault P, Marchand S. Different autonomic responses to experimental pain in IBS patients and healthy controls. J Clin Gastroenterol. 2006 Oct;40(9):814-20. doi: 10.1097/01.mcg.0000225607.56352.ce. PMID: 17016138.
Image from: https://urpt.com/blog/physical-therapy-vs-opioids/