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Taking control of your pain!

We have all experienced pain at some point in our lives and as a practising Osteopath of many years, I find it intriguing how different patients react to pain and how this impacts on their recovery. Helping my patients to understand their pain and working with them to reach a more positive outcome is something I feel very passionate about.

Types of pain

The first thing is to identify what type of pain it is. Pain can be acute (short-term) or chronic (persistent), both can be debilitating in different ways. Acute pain can last up to 6 months and normally disappears once the underlying cause resolves. Chronic pain is ongoing and can last longer than 6 months, continuing beyond injury repair. Sometimes chronic pain can develop without any obvious cause and the nervous system can become more sensitive to pain too, often creating a more complex picture.

What can impact pain?

There are many factors that can contribute to pain and how well we cope with it but if not managed correctly, chronic pain can become a viscous cycle. The first thing to remember is not to fear pain. The typical scenario I see with patients is their belief that pain causes more damage, making them reluctant to move. Immobility results in increased stiffness and a delay in recovery.

A question I am frequently asked is should one take painkillers? The advice I give is if your level of pain is such that your ability to move is limited, you are probably better off taking some in the short-term to allow you to move more freely and hence aid your recovery.

So what else can impact your pain? The Biopsychosocial model of pain explains how no 2 people in pain are the same. There are 3 influences to pain: our body, our mind/emotions/feelings and our environment in which we live or have lived. Stress/tension, focusing on your pain and difficulties and partaking in activity beyond your fitness levels are just a few examples.

Tips to help reduce pain

  • Learn some relaxation techniques, such as breathing exercises and meditation
  • Distraction – focus on something you enjoy whether that’s a hobby, socialising, work
  • Take regular exercise to release chemicals that relieve pain and improve your mood
  • Make sure you pace your activities

How can Osteopathy help?

If you are in pain and struggling to manage it, our team of Osteopaths would be happy to work with you, treat your condition and explore the right strategies for you.