Chronic Pain Treatment
Occasional pain is normal. Living in pain is not.
Kitsap Physical Therapy’s Pain Program is designed to help you spend less time dealing with your pain and more time doing the things you love.
Why does pain persist?
Pain that persists beyond the normal tissue healing time is considered chronic pain. Chronic pain is different than long-lasting acute pain (pain from injury or illness lasting less than 6 months). Chronic pain is commonly due to changes in our nervous system, and the processing of information from nerves in the brain. This is why many treatments and procedures aimed at fixing the original injury or tissue pathology miss the mark or only offer temporary relief.
While traditional physical therapy usually tries to target a specific tissue or structure, our pain program focuses on calming the entire nervous system.
When everything hurts, traditional physical therapy can be frustrating and challenging. Rather than sending you home with a standardized list of exercises and stretches, our pain program focuses first on equipping you with the knowledge of what is going on with your persistent pain. We then focus on what you CAN do and gradually build your confidence and ability from there towards your goals.
Can this program help me?
This program is designed for those whose pain may be stemming at least in part from an extra- sensitive nervous system. Common signs of a sensitive nervous system include:
- Persistent pain for over 6 months
- Pain fluctuating without a consistent pattern
- Pain that’s constant or not directly related to an activity
- Symptoms that move around or have been spreading over time
- Hypersensitivity to touch
Why did my nerves become sensitive?
There are many things that can cause a nervous system to become extra sensitive but research has shown some of the most common reasons are:
- Multiple previous failed treatments
- Not knowing the cause of the pain
- Fear/worry that the pain will get worse
- Depression/anxiety related to the pain
- Different explanations about pain
It’s not in your head. You are not alone. We are on your team.
Knowledge is power
The more you know about pain, the better off you’ll be! Research shows that once you understand what’s causing your pain, your nerves immediately begin to calm down a bit. In addition to making you smarter about pain, our program has more than 20 methods to help ease your pain. Pain programs that focus on education like ours have been shown to help patients hurt less, exercise more, and regain control of their lives.
What to expect on your first visit
1. A one-on-one visit with a certified Therapeutic Pain Specialist (TPS)
2. A friendly provider who will really LISTEN to your whole story
3. A thorough physical examination of your body and your symptoms
4. Testing to assess your nervous system’s sensitivity, such as:
- – Two-point discrimination
- – Range of motion
- – Pressure point thresholds
5. A clear explanation of what is going on and how we can help
Our Pain Program Physical Therapists have all worked hard to earn their Therapeutic Pain Science certifications, and are devoted to your success!
Getting out of chronic pain is a team effort!
Chronic pain rarely has a passive fix: that means we won’t be able to do it all for you. Breaking the pain cycle often requires making lifestyle changes. As a part of our pain program, you may be given homework addressing:
- Sleep hygiene
- Goal setting
- Exercises for range of motion, nervous system mobility, and strength
- Written homework reflecting on the pain education content
In the clinic, treatment may include
- Graded Motor Imagery
- Mirror Therapy
- Graded Exposure
- Modalities (TENS, biofeedback, ice, heat)
- Manual Therapy
Isn’t pain a normal part of getting old?
Recent scientific work has discovered that the connection between age and pain is actually much weaker than we once thought. We have long attributed chronic pain to our bodies ‘wearing out’, and allowed fear of pain from arthritis, degenerative disc disease, and old injuries to keep us from doing what we want.
But we’re finding that while our bodies do change as we age, degenerative changes are normal (they’re like wrinkles on the inside) and do not have to be life-sentences for pain. Gradually increasing our activity and exercise usually improves our joint health! If there are things you wish you could still do, come make a plan with our pain specialists to get back to the activities you love.
Common Diagnoses that PNE helps with include:
- Chronic Lower Back/Spinal Pain
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- Cervical or Lumbar Radiculopathy
If you think that PNE might be an option for you, we’d love to have you come in to see if we can help.