Let’s face it…we all experience pain sometimes. Whether you had an accident or tripped over your own two feet, it happens to all of us. Luckily, physical therapy may be of help.
Physical therapy can help you:
- Get better safely, without causing further injury.
- Stay physically active to avoid costs of opioids or risk for surgery.
- Recover as soon as possible.
- Avoid other problems caused by pain.
- Achieve your goals.
A Few Facts About Pain
Pain is output from the brain. Our brains use pain as a defense against harm or injury.
Degree of pain does not equal degree of injury. We all experience pain in different ways; major injuries can have little pain and minor injuries can have high pain (paper cut). There is also no way of determining if an individual has a high pain tolerance.
MRIs, X-rays, and CT scans may not show causes of pain. Diagnostic imaging can present diagnoses that you may not have known were there.
Depression and anxiety can make your pain worse. Psychological factors impact how we perceive pain and how long it lasts. Contrastly, an optimistic outlook influences pain positively.
Social environments can influence our perception of pain. Stressful situations or environments that are perceived as unsafe have a negative influence on pain.
Amplified Pain Syndrome (APS)
Patients may also experience what is known as Amplified Pain Syndrome (APS), an umbrella term that describes an increased sensitivity to pain.
What causes APS? Injury, illness, and stress are all factors that cause APS. Individuals can experience pain that is localized to one area or widespread to more body regions, and the pain can be gradual or sudden.
What are signs to look out for? You should look out for pain that is heightened; meaning, a normal event that causes a minor injury turns into the feeling of high amounts of pain. You may also experience limited endurance and muscle weakness, or a decreased ability to perform normal tasks due to pain. If light touch, pressure, temperature, and vibration that would not normally elicit a pain response but creates pain for you, then APS should be suspected.
How Can You Get Treated?
Physical therapists, in collaboration with other medical professionals, will provide physical therapy and education. Physical therapy can work on desensitization to decrease the heightened response to pain, exercise therapy to decrease the fear of movement, and stress education to teach you strategies to control your stress.
If you find yourself experiencing APS or challenges with any of the points above, come visit your local therapy providers, TEAM Physical Therapy, at one of our five locations.
This post was written by Trevor Chenoweth. Trevor is a third-year physical therapy student from Creighton University. He is currently on a clinical rotation with TEAM physical therapist Jeff Denson at our Broken Bow location.