In this post, CPN Exec member Simon Kirkegaard, writes about the problem of stubborn (chronic) pain.
Many bright minds have contemplated on the complexity of pain for millennia yet even in 2016 we are still looking for a really effective and efficient way to alleviate stubborn (chronic) pain. There is a tendency to rely heavily on passive treatments and medication for pain which produce great results for short term pain and injury but dependency and more pain for the more stubborn pain that approximately 1/5 of population of the western world live with. A new exciting systematic review by Adriaan Louw et al. (2016) provides strong evidence for pain biology education as part of treatment for pain.
I first became aware of pain science when I watched Lorimer Moseley’s Ted Talk “Why things hurt” which was so inspiring to me that I contacted him. Unbeknownst to me pain is not only about injury or the tissues and this turned my world and physiotherapy practice upside down. Today I primarily work with stubborn pain clients and the treatment I offer has much more to do about human cognition than the tissues of the body. Through cooperation with my clients we explore their beliefs and needs and scrutinize unhealthy understanding of our body’s resilience and ability to adapt. Realizing that hurt does not equal harm and injury does not last for years is crucial to patients. Understanding that pain is a protective mechanism designed to get safeguard us and that this mechanism is influenced by a wide range of factors helps facilitate behavioral changes and increase patient self-efficacy. The goal to get out of pain and recover old functions demands a strategy that include client’s preferences, circumstances, and involvement.