First of all, what exactly is chronic pain?I’ve heard it being used rather flippantly by some but even if you’re one of those people who suffer from it, you may not exactly know what to expect. If you’ve had pain whether it’s in your muscles or nerves or joints. If it’s been there for 3 months, it’s termed “chronic pain”. Yes! 3 months! For some it can be a short duration but for most of us 3 months of pain can literally drive us mad. Would you agree? So here are some important things to understand about chronic pain because it’ll make your recovery easier. 

woman with chronic pain

1. Accepting that you’re suffering from chronic pain

In order to recover from chronic pain, the first step is really accepting it. Which means not ignoring it when it happens. It also means seeking help if it’s not going away and not thinking “she’ll be right”. And then waiting until it gets worse before seeing a physio or your doctor about it. Remember pain is not normal. If your body is giving you pain, it means that something’s wrong. The sooner you understand that you’ve got chronic pain that’s not budging the quicker you’ll get on that recovery path.

2. Chronic pain also can affect your mindset

So please, please don’t beat yourself up that you’re starting to feel low about it and it’s affecting your mood. Our bodies were designed to move and anytime we can’t do that because of pain, we feel deflated and a sense of loss. We are saddened by it. Because we all want quick fixes, we want to rush our recovery and feel disappointed that we’re not improving at the pace we like. It’s natural, yes. But this also means that we need to work on our mindset. A good therapist will always take this into account and give you small steps to deal with this. 

3. Recovery from chronic pain is slower even if you’re a “good” healer

Why? You may think. Well it’s taken this long to affect your life. Some suffer from chronic pain for 3 months but some others can be dealing with it for years before they’ve had a chance to even know what it is. It almost settles into your body. Started affecting other areas that help move you. Isn’t it? Like someone with back pain will suddenly start feeling pain in their hip or leg. The body just tries to recover from chronic pain by recruiting other areas . And this creates complications with recovery. We as Physios have to break the vicious cycle of pain and swelling and that takes time. This is why just 1 session is not enough. We really need to keep building up on what we’ve achieved in the previous session to get you feeling 100%. 

4. Slow and controlled exercise helps chronic pain even if you’re in pain when you first try it

Pilates reformer.3 1

This is so much easier said than done. Because I do understand that for someone with chronic fatigue , this will be a huge mountain to climb but even if you start with 5 mins  a day. Or 10 mins, I promise you, your endurance will build up over time. You may have heard this from other health professioals time and again but you probably don’t even know where to start? Remember it’s your journey, don’t compare yourself to anyone else.I’m a huge fan of Reformer Pilates because it’s so low impact that anyone with chronic pain will be able to do it. It’s slow and controlled and doesn’t impact the joints. It’s a great full body workout. 

5.Where there’s a will there’s a way

Recovery from chronic pain is a struggle but it’s still possible. You’ll have to keep reminding yourself to get back on your road to recovery. Your therapist will definitely help you to keep you accountable. It’s not all or nothing. Developing a plan with your therapist and sticking to it is the key. Yes you’ll hit roadblocks along the way but as long as you can get back on the horse, I promise you’ll be fine. 

If you or someone you know is suffering from chronic pain, please let them know that we’re here to support them. Our experienced physiotherapists and Remedial massage therapists have the expertise to deal with chronic pain and set you on the right path.