Q&A w/ Your Therapist: What exactly is chronic pain? Kaisa Syväoja will help answer all of your questions about chronic pain!

You hear people talking about chronic pain but you might be asking yourself…so what is chronic pain exactly? Doctor of Occupational Therapy, Kaisa Syväoja at Choice Therapy will dive into the differences between acute pain versus chronic pain and she provides a few simple tips to help improve your chronic pain!

Question: What is Acute Pain versus Chronic Pain?

Answer:

Acute Pain: Normal pain response –

        • Inflammation
        • Restricted and/or guarded movements
        • Sensitivities to touch around involved structure

Chronic Pain: Pain that continues after structure has “healed” –

        • Pain that lasts more than 3-6 months
        • Generalized pain (no longer able to directly identify pain location)
        • Pain that persists following a decrease in Inflammation
        • Guarding may continue despite structure healing
        • Sensitivities to light, sound or touch may also become common (Hypersensitivities)

Question: What causes those hypersensitivities and how can I reduce my chronic pain?

Answer:

Think about chronic pain like your body’s alarm system that is never able to shut off. Before you had pain, it only went off when there was a real problem or danger to your life. Now, it will go off any time that something moves. This can be really frustrating when you are trying to live your daily life. It can begin to make you feel like you don’t have control over your body. Chronic pain is often times invisible making explaining it to others difficult. Chronic pain can be impacted by stress levels, diet, lack of movement, emotions, and the environment. However, many of these are areas that you can change! Some simple ways to start reducing your chronic pain include; setting goals to get a good night’s sleep, eat a balanced diet, and begin light, low-impact cardiovascular exercise. Chronic pain does not mean that you will have it forever. With a good healthcare team that knows you, you can take control of your pain and begin to live your life!

Kaisa Syväoja – Doctor of Occupational Therapy