Chronic Pain

Today, I had another client come in today with lower back pain.  She told me she had sciatica symptoms.  She felt pain in her back initially however the pain that shoots down her legs is the most debilitating.  She feels like sometimes she can’t stand up all the way.  

Unfortunately for her, she’s been dealing with this for over half a decade.  The pain limits her from walking, standing long periods of time, and at this point she’s afraid to return to work as a nurse.  Nursing is a very active highly demanding physical job.  The fear is completely understandable and the fear is very rational.

Dealing with chronic pain can be life consuming, altering our lifestyles in ways that people without chronic pain do not realize.  I personally have had a ACL reconstruction on my R knee.  I went to months of prehab and even more months of rehab after surgery.  It still aggravates me to this day.  I realized that my knee hurt when I was walking for prolonged periods, or sitting for prolonged periods.  I never thought I’d be able to play soccer again so I would skip workouts.  I would avoid any activity that may cause pain.  I “knew” it would cause pain.

Recently, I came across an article on chronic pain and it helped enlighten my knowledge on the subject.  They found that the pain signal to the brain not only was coming from the source of pain BUT was also coming from memory.

Another article was showing how pain pathways from the source of pain may actually interfere with motor output.  This means that the pain is actually discoordinating muscles, which is going to lead to more pain.

Given these two thoughts, it makes sense why a client would need more than just strengthening to solve their problem.  The client needs solutions that address these other factors as well.  This is a common problem that needs to be addressed appropriately.

Dr. Mark Geise, PT, DPT