Prairie du Chien, WI – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that chronic pain, one of the most common reasons adults seek medical care, has been linked to restrictions in mobility and daily activities, dependence on opioids, anxiety and depression, and poor perceived health and reduced quality of life.
“Chronic pain exists beyond the healing process and is usually associated with prolonged disease, typically pain that has lasted for more than six months,” explained Dr. Amarjit Virdi, Pain Management Specialist at Crossing Rivers Health. “When a pain becomes chronic, there are other associated changes in the brain that can contribute to a disability, anxiety, depression, lack of sleep, or poor quality of life.” The most effective pain management treatment uses a combination of the 4P’s: prevention, psychological, physical, and pharmaceutical. Prevention includes getting better sleep, activity pacing, using splints or orthotics, and practicing healthy lifestyle habits. Psychological consists of education on self-management of the pain, counseling, relaxation training, hypnosis, and social support. Physical incorporates exercise, physiotherapy, massage, acupuncture, chiropractic care, or electrotherapy. Pharmaceutical should be discussed with a primary care provider to find an appropriate medication for the specific type of pain, if necessary. “The most important factor in determining an appropriate pain management plan is to determine the stressor and the cause of the pain,” shared Dr. Virdi. “Short-term interventions may ease the pain to allow for enough comfort to make lifestyle adjustments that may include physical and occupational therapy to increase strength, daily exercise, massage therapy, chiropractic care, etc. A treatment plan that includes exercise will provide a long-term pain solution.” Starting an exercise program to reduce pain does not have to be overwhelming, according to Patrick Stovey, Clinical Exercise Physiologist, and Austin Neis, Exercise Specialist, at Crossing Rivers Health. “Gradually becoming more active will improve flexibility, reduce inflammation, and strengthen the muscles around the joints,” explained Stovey. “Start with a low-intensity exercise program for a short period of time and remember that you don’t have to experience pain for exercise to be beneficial,” added Neis. “Build up to 30 minutes, every day – you can even break that time up throughout the day.” “Once you feel comfortable with the low-intensity program, increase to moderate intensity for 30 minutes daily. Moderate means that you should be able to carry on a conversation while exercising,” Stovey stated. “The more moderate-intensity exercise you do, the higher your pain tolerance will become.” Chronic pain can also be a result of habits, postures, or movements that are inefficient or mechanically incorrect. “Therapy should be an integral part of the pain management plan to educate those who suffer on what to do, what not to do, and how to do it correctly,” shared Tom Wilkes, Director of Rehabilitation Services at Crossing Rivers Health. “If physical or occupational therapy is included in your pain management plan, see a reputable and experienced therapist. Together, you will create a plan of care to determine where you want to be and how to get there.” The first step to finding a treatment for chronic pain is discussing symptoms with a primary care provider. Appointments can be made at Crossing Rivers Health Clinic in Prairie du Chien or Fennimore by calling 608.357.2500. Referrals can also be made to Dr. Amarjit Virdi at Crossing Rivers Health Center for Specialty Care by calling 608.357.2525. A wide variety of resources of pain are available at crossingrivers.org/pain.