Pain is commonly the driving force behind the desire to seek treatment. It can have a profound impact on one’s ability to function. You may be experiencing pain from a recent injury, or you may be accustomed to it constantly affecting your quality of life.
Pain can often be persistent and remain long after an injury. This pain is usually described as chronic and produces changes in us in the way our pain is perceived.
Pain is an output from the brain and a warning signal that tissue damage may be present. Unfortunately, it is not always an accurate warning signal and does not always commensurate with a specific level of tissue damage. However, persistent or unexplained chronic musculoskeletal pain can oftentimes be explained by changes in the central nervous system, which include the brain and spinal cord. Our brains have the ability to change and adapt at any age. This ability is called plasticity of the nervous system.
Plasticity is a term that means a tissue can change or adapt, and this applies to the nervous system when we are in pain for a period of time. Our nervous system can become accustomed to sending us pain signals. When this occurs, our pain can become “centralized,” meaning it is now controlled and modulated more by the nervous system and influenced less by the original cause or injury. Regardless of your circumstances, pain is multifactorial.
At Ability Physical Therapy, we specialize in the management and treatment of chronic pain. The first and most important part of treating your chronic pain is understanding what causes and influences it.