Chronic Pain: Question and Answer: Part Three: Final
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- If I am feeling pain and my tissues are not damaged, why do I have pain? You are stuck in what we call a chronic pain loop.
- Did my chronic pain loop just happen or did something trigger it? It was triggered during the initial or recurrent injury, but the brain has not realized you have healed or moved on.
- Can I exit the chronic pain loop or is it a permanent change? Yes, you can exit the chronic pain loop and No it is not permanent, but you do have to ask the brain to change through retraining.
- Can I do it on my own? You will require a healthcare provider that is trained in graded motor imagery to assist you exiting the chronic pain loop. Before exiting the loop is the forest of patience and persistence; which means you will have set backs. A knowledgeable practitioner can guide you through each step.
- Do pain medicines help you exit the pain loop? No. controlling your pain is important to keep you from entering a pain loop, but this can be done with modalities and non-opioid medication.
- Should I just stop taking pain medication? No. Always work with your healthcare provider to taper any medications appropriately. If you suddenly stop a medication that is assisting in pain control you can enter into a pain crisis. The brain will perceive this as harmful and send greater fear signals. This is why it is important to work with a trained healthcare professional to know when and how you can reduce your medication.
Click on the following link to learn more about graded motor imagery. Click on the different stages at the top to assist in determining which stage you may be in. You can use the following affiliate links to download the Recognise App appropriate for you and test your right/left discrimination.
Your ability to distinguish your right from the left can be affected when you are in a chronic pain loop.
To further your reading as a patient or practitioner the Explain Pain book is a good choice and can be found on the iBooks Store.
This article is for education only. This information is not intended to replace the advise or evaluation of a healthcare provider. An evaluation is highly skilled and complex and involves an evaluation of different systems and elements to determine the best approach for each individual. Always follow the instructions of your physical therapist or physician in regards to your personal exercise program.