Hyun J. (June) Park,  PT, DPT, CIDN

Hyun J. (June) Park, PT, DPT, CIDN

Dr Hyun Park graduated from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) with a Doctorate in Physical Therapy. She is certified in dry needling by the Integrative Dry Needling Institute and a member of the APTA (American Physical Therapy Association).

Physical Therapist’s Guide to Chronic Pain Part One

So - what is chronic pain you ask? Well, it is exactly as it sounds - which is an unpleasant sensation that is usually associated with injury or tissue damage. But the pain can also happen even if there is no tissue damage in the area.

I’ve talked a lot in the past about different injuries and how physical therapy can help, but I think that it is important to know that we can help with other things too. So that being said with part one of this two part post I am going to educate you about chronic pain – and then in part two (next week) I will discuss how having a physical therapist can help.

What Is Chronic Pain?

So – what is chronic pain you ask? Well, it is exactly as it sounds – which is an unpleasant sensation that is usually associated with injury or tissue damage. But the pain can also happen even if there is no tissue damage in the area.

There are two types of chronic pain, which are:

Acute Pain

Acute pain lasts for a short time, usually less than 12 weeks. Basically acute pain is a warning that there has been tissue damage and is your bodies way of helping you prevent further injury or disease.

I guess the best way to describe it is…say for example you burn yourself with a hair straightener. When it touches your skin the body sends a message to the brain which causes you to pull away and prevent further “damage”. Signaling pain in this manner is the body’s way of protecting us and is a good thing.

Now – in some cases the “danger message” that your brain is sending you may be due to some disease process, and your brain can make a mistake and interpret the messages as pain. It is important that if this is the case you seek medical attention so that the pain can be diagnosed.

Chronic Pain

Chronic pain is when you have discomfort that lasts more than 3 months, or longer than the normal healing period of an injury. In most cases people that suffer from chronic pain think that they have a disease or that their body isn’t healing. What most people do not know is that that may not be the case at all. Chronic pain is probably not warning sign of a possible injury – instead it is a sign that the pain centers in your brain could be causing you to hurt even though there causes of pain occurring in the body.

It’s important to know that no matter what your age – you can develop chronic pain.

How Does it Feel?

Chronic pain varies with each person and is a very individual experience. The different factors include; how often it occurs, how severe the pain is, and how long it lasts. All of these things vary from one person to the next – so there is no exact answer I can give you.

However, some of the common complaints related to chronic pain include:
– You might feel like “everything hurts, everywhere.”
– You may feel sudden stabs of pain.
– You could feel like your pain “has a mind of its own.”
– You feel symptoms when you are not doing anything to cause them.
– The pain seems to intensify if you think about it.
– Pain increases during upsetting circumstances.
– You feel more anxious and depressed than usual.
– Your symptoms seem to spread from one area to another.

Please keep in mind that these are just common complaints, and it does not mean that your condition is worsening. It could just mean that your system has become more sensitive with time.

As usual I will advise that if any of these things are extremely intense you should seek medical attention immediately. It’s important to listen to what your body is telling you and take the necessary steps to feel better.

That is it for this week everyone – but make sure that you check back next week to read part two where I tell you all about how your amazingly talented physical therapist can help you with this condition.

In the mean time if you’ve been thinking about getting a physical therapist please feel free to give us a call or contact us through our online form.

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