Chronic pain affects more people than cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes combined. Chronic pain affects about 20% of adults in the United States, and high-impact chronic pain affects around 8%. Everyone feels pain, from time-to-time, so what exactly is chronic pain? Chronic pain is defined as pain that lasts for a period of 6 months or more--and this may include back pain, headaches, and lower back pain, and more.
According to the CDC, chronic pain is one of the most common reasons adults receive medical care. Chronic pain can disrupt your daily routine, keeping you from doing even the simplest tasks -- and can have real effects on your overall emotional health.
Fibromyalgia, A Common Chronic Pain Condition
Fibromyalgia is an example of a very common chronic pain condition -- affecting more than 5 million people in the U.S. The pain that people experience with fibromyalgia is very different from the pain you feel when you have a stiff neck or sore back. Patients with fibromyalgia experience tenderness and severe pain in areas, even with small amounts of pressure. It can begin locally in only one part of the body but is easily spread throughout the upper and lower extremities. Many times, this condition is experienced long before it is ever diagnosed.
“Chronic pain and fibromyalgia are probably both issues of altered nerve connections in the brain and spinal cord. There are studies demonstrating these objective changes via functional MRI scans that look at live blood flow while a person receives a painful stimulus,” says physiatrist Dr. Garrett Hyman, MD, MPH. “There is more blood flow in various parts of the brain for those experiencing chronic pain during functional MRI testing, and this means that there is more of the brain paying attention to the pain. More nerves paying attention to the pain equals a more difficult experience for the person in pain.”
Ease Your Chronic Pain With Physical Therapy
While chronic pain can be frustrating, there are ways physical therapy can help. Physical therapists are trained to create a program or a plan to restore or improve movement that will lessen your pain. Part of our job is to evaluate and assess your lifestyle, help to uncover the source or cause for your pain, to confront it, and lessen its effects. According to Leonard Van Gelder, PT DPT, ATC, the PT must “seek out the patients' thoughts and feelings, and understand how they can influence their experience of pain.” By doing this, we can better understand the pain you are feeling but also begin to treat the chronic pain condition more acutely. You shouldn’t let your pain control your life.
On-Demand Physical Therapy Helps Alleviate Chronic Pain And Stress
As part of our goals, Luna aims to make your PT as accessible and easy to work with as possible. You’re already in a place where it’s a struggle to manage everyday tasks, and getting to a PT session is just one more thing to tackle. We alleviate your stress by coming to you. We understand that there are limitations when you are experiencing chronic pain. On-demand physical therapy removes the barriers that may be keeping you from getting treatment.
Some of those benefits to on-demand physical therapy for chronic pain include:
- No more worrying about experiencing pain when driving to your appointment, or deciding not to go because the pain is too great and you can’t find a way to get there.
- One-on-one time with your PT in a quiet, familiar environment where they can assess your surroundings and provide recommendations for ways to make your everyday tasks as pain-free as possible.
- A more personal relationship with your PT. Having someone there who cares about your well-being and is there to listen and have compassion for all that you’re dealing with on a day-to-day basis. (This can take some of the stress off your family or caregiver, as well, so it’s a win-win.)
- Help you to regain your independence, confidence, and life.
It can be physically and psychologically difficult for your family and caregivers to watch you suffer from chronic pain without knowing how to help. The impact on your family can result in any number of physical, social, and emotional changes. We don’t want you to exhaust yourself, worrying about how it impacts your loved ones.
Having a trusted physical therapist takes away some of the stress and provides you with a solid plan for improvement. Check out Luna’s on-demand physical therapy services in the Bay Area, Los Angeles, Orange County, and now in Seattle!