Chronic pain can be the result of tissue or joint damage due to excessive use or injury. It can also be the result of a degenerative or chronic disorder, such as arthritis or fibromyalgia. In cases where surgery cannot eliminate the cause of the pain, the next best treatment is with proper physical therapy and pain management.
At Princeton Orthopaedic Associates, we will work to find the source of your pain and determine your best course of treatment. Our experts will customize a plan specifically for you and your needs, adjusting everything from diet to exercise routine to sleep patterns to manage your pain and keep it from interfering with your daily routine.
Pain is your body’s natural response to certain stimuli that could or does cause damage to the body. Consider it an alarm system for your body. If someone breaks a window in your home, a signal is sent to the primary system, the alarm goes off, and it lets you know where that window has been broken. Pain works in much the same way. Nerves alert the brain to an injury or threat to the body. The brain sets off an alarm in the form of pain and sends it to the location where that threat is located.
However, with chronic pain, the nerves become overly sensitive and react even when that threat is not there. Scientists continue to study why the nerves become increasingly sensitive and why they don’t “shut off” that sensitivity once the perceived threat has passed.
While many chronic pain illnesses don’t have cures, many advancements have been made in recent years into managing chronic pain to reduce it to the lowest levels possible.
The first step to managing your pain is understanding it. A physical therapist begins by evaluating the cause of your chronic pain and how it affects you daily. The therapist will work with you to determine the triggers that make your pain worse or the actions or at-home remedies that improve your pain.
The physical therapist can then determine the best exercises to reduce your pain by increasing your strength and flexibility. They will also work with you to modify your daily routines to reduce pain triggers and recommend diet changes to improve your nutrition and relieve your pain.
The physical therapist will also work with you on your sleep patterns. A sleep study may be needed to determine if the way you sleep and the amount you sleep contribute to your pain. Once all the information is available, the therapist will help you set short-term and long-term goals to change your lifestyle and better manage your pain.