Chronic Pain? The American Pain Society defines chronic pain as a pain lasting longer that 3 months. Chronic pain is very complex as there are many variables and factors which contributes to chronic pain. As a physical therapist, I had seen many of my colleagues “cringe” when a patient with a chronic pain issue comes to the clinic. Many chronic pain patients have already had modalities such as ultrasound, electrical stimulation, and exercise without help. So, the question my colleagues ask themselves is “what can I offer them that they had not already had?”. Well, as a manual physical therapist there is plenty more to offer.
In my practice of manual physical therapy I look at much more than range of motion and manual muscle testing. I look at altered posture along with altered movement and muscle firing patterns. When an injury occurs patients tend to compensate due to the initial injury. This is normal. However, this compensation often times remain after the initial injury has healed. This is not normal and can lead to “new pain” and “pain at different areas of the body” long after the initial injury.
I look for biomechanical faults in joints. I define a biomechanical fault as a restriction in a joints ability to move, an alteration in position (a subtle shift), and/or an alteration in a joints ability absorb forces (joint play). There may also be hyper (excessive) mobility at a joint. These conditions alter movement and muscle firing patterns along with causing strain on ligaments and muscles. These conditions can also refer pain elsewhere in the body; which is common in many chronic pain conditions.
I look to assess the conditions of soft tissue structures. There could be puffiness due to an accumulation of fluids due to lack of motion. Or, there could be swelling due to inflammation. Muscles may be contracted, weakened, have trigger points, or have increased tone and spasm. These conditions may or may not cause pain locally and can refer pain to other areas of the body.
I also assess for densifications (restrictions) in connective tissue. Recent studies have shown that connective tissues have pain receptors, muscle spindles, and specialized cells that send information to the brain regarding pressure, vibration and position sense. And, if there are densifications in the connective tissue those densifications can send misinformation to the brain altering muscle firing patterns along with causing pain; again referring pain to other areas of the body.
As a manual physical therapist it is very important to take the time to trace through the body to find the “true source” of pain, even if the source of pain is not where pain if felt. It is also very important to give your body the time to respond to the manual intervention. Therefore, by dedicating 1 full hour to your care one on one, along with combining advanced manual therapy with massage and bodywork, many of the conditions causing chronic pain can be found and resolved.
If you are suffering from chronic pain and you have not had relief from other providers, and you live in Ocean county, NJ, Monmouth county, NJ, and eastern sections of Mercer county, NJ read through my website. Then give me a call at: (732) 642 – 5055. I would love to discuss your condition with you.