What kind of management is best for chronic pain?

Living with chronic pain presents a challenging journey, necessitating a personalized approach to management. In Edmonton, AB, individuals often turn to diverse methods, such as physiotherapy and holistic approaches, for effective chronic pain management. This article explores strategies for managing chronic pain, emphasizing the role of Turning Point Physical Therapy in Edmonton. 

Chronic pain, persisting beyond normal healing time, affects approximately 20% of adults. Finding an effective management plan is crucial, whether stemming from an initial injury or developing without a precise cause. Fortunately, evidence-based treatment options, including those offered by Turning Point Physical Therapy, provide hope for improved pain management and enhanced functioning.

Lifestyle Changes  

Making positive lifestyle changes is essential for chronic pain self-management. Regular exercise, eating a balanced diet, utilizing stress reduction techniques, obtaining sufficient sleep, and staying socially and mentally active help minimize pain flare-ups and severity. 

Programs incorporating these key components with guidance from providers like physiotherapists at Turning Point Physical Therapy in Edmonton, AB, empower patients to make sustainable lifestyle improvements to feel better.

Physical Therapy

Physiotherapy plays a central role in reducing muscle tension, improving flexibility and strength, re-training appropriate movement patterns, and encouraging standard motor control. This alleviates pain and prevents further injury that can worsen pain over time. 

Therapeutic exercises, manual therapy, modalities like heat/ice, education on managing symptoms, preventing flare-ups with proper body mechanics and pacing, using assistive devices, and more can provide relief. Customized Edmonton Physiotherapy programs crafted by providers such as Turning Point Physical Therapy effectively treat various chronic pain conditions.

Psychological Approaches

Given the close interaction between emotions and chronic pain, psychological interventions facilitate regaining functioning and building resilience. Treatments like cognitive behavioural therapy, mindfulness, and acceptance commitment therapy equip patients with tangible coping strategies for pain, distress, poor sleep, fatigue, and associated conditions like anxiety or depression. 

Patients learn techniques to modify unhelpful thought patterns, feelings about pain, behaviors that reinforce disability, and catastrophic thinking. This reduces distress and frustration from pain rather than focusing on eliminating pain completely. These therapies effectively enhance pain control and engagement with meaningful activities.

Medications 

Medications may supplement chronic pain treatment plans for many patients. Anti-seizure drugs, certain antidepressants, topical analgesics, medical marijuana, nerve blocks, radiofrequency ablation, epidural steroid spinal injections, implants like spinal cord stimulators, and other options modulate pain signaling with varying degrees of evidence. 

Providers weigh benefits against risks and side effects when selecting suitable medications for each patient’s circumstances and response. The emphasis is using medications only as needed to facilitate participation in therapies targeting pain generators and restoration of function. 

Integrative Medicine

Growing research supports certain integrative health approaches as safe complements. Acupuncture, therapeutic massage, spinal manipulation, mindfulness meditation, yoga, and medical marijuana help some patients manage pain. Proposed mechanisms involve beneficial nervous system effects regulating pain signaling. 

Integrative modalities should be tailored to patient interests and evaluated individually in terms of helpfulness. Used under professional guidance alongside conventional medical care, some patients report worthwhile pain relief with these therapies.

Interdisciplinary Care Model  

Given chronic pain complexity, the most effective Chronic Pain Management in Edmonton involves coordinated care from an expert interdisciplinary team. 

Core team members often include physicians, nurses, physical and occupational therapists, psychologists, and pharmacists working together under shared goals. Some clinics incorporate more practitioners like nutritionists and massage therapists. 

Comprehensive assessments identify physical, psychological, and social factors driving each patient’s pain and disability. Combined treatment plans then target these areas simultaneously. Research demonstrates this collaborative model consistently yields superior outcomes compared to isolated providers. 

Intensive Rehabilitation Programs

For patients with high pain-related disability, formal intensive interdisciplinary pain programs bring numerous resources together. These full-day programs run for multiple weeks, intensely focusing on medical care, physical retraining, emotional coping skills, self-care education, recreational therapy, and more to comprehensively equip patients with pain and function management skills for all life domains. 

Candidates undergo screening evaluations to determine appropriateness for admission. For those who qualify and fully engage, these all-encompassing programs can dramatically improve pain coping and abilities.

Sustaining Progress through Healthy Lifestyle Habits 

Even after patients work extensively with providers to achieve pain relief, implementing healthy self-care habits long-term is paramount to sustaining gains. 

This includes maintaining exercise routines, using stress and pain coping strategies learned in treatment, eating nutritious anti-inflammatory diets, prioritizing restorative sleep, staying socially engaged, journaling feelings, attending support groups, and actively limiting aggravating factors. 

Falling back into negative patterns usually revives pain and nasty pain cycles. Making lifestyle adjustments to support health and function can make all the difference in avoiding this backward slide.

Conclusion

Though extremely challenging, chronic pain can often be successfully managed through various pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic therapies. A combination approach tailored to patient priorities and adjusted over time allows custom-designed pain treatment. 

Patience and persistence are key. With provider support like that available from Turning Point Physical Therapy in Edmonton, AB, and dedicated self-care, those with chronic pain can enhance functioning and quality of life.