In recognition of Pain Awareness Month, our Glenn Dale physical therapists explain what chronic pain is and what we can do to address it

National pain awarness glenn dale physical therapists

September 18, 2018

September is Pain Awareness Month, and CAM Physical Therapy and Wellness Services is fully on board with the campaign. Each year, this month is dedicated to raising public awareness on the issues related to pain and the management of it, and this responsibility falls on the shoulders of the medical professionals that deal with patients in pain. With this in mind, our Glenn Dale physical therapists would like to provide you with some important facts about chronic pain and discuss why a course of therapy may be the best solution available for it.

In 2001, a coalition of groups and organizations decided that September should become the official month for the chronic pain community to receive national recognition, and Pain Awareness Month was established. Since then, organizations across the country have put together a collective effort during this month with the ultimate goal of spreading awareness and describing how pain affects individuals, families, communities and the nation. This year’s theme is “Unity,” which is based on the idea that people living with daily pain should come together and stand at the forefront of all pain-related discussions.

While Pain Awareness Month is meant to include all types of pain, the primary focus is on chronic pain. Acute pain is fairly straightforward: it’s the type of pain we experience after an injury like an ankle sprain, which is a normal sensation triggered in the nervous system to alert you that something is wrong with the body and it needs to be addressed. Chronic pain is much different: the pain signals that are sent out by the nervous system continue to fire and tell the body that something is wrong for weeks, months or even years. While an injury or damage to the body may be responsible for the original pain message, for some patients there is no clear reason the body acts in this way, which tends to make things even more complicated.

Nearly 100 million Americans are currently dealing with chronic pain to some extent, which is more than the amount of people with diabetes, heart disease and cancer combined. Chronic pain comes in many forms, and has been described as a throbbing, shooting, aching, burning or freezing pain, just to name a few sensations patients experience. There is also a wide array of conditions that can cause chronic pain—if a condition is responsible, that is—which include headaches, low back pain, cancer pain and arthritis pain.

What our Glenn Dale physical therapists can do for your chronic pain

Unfortunately, a great number of patients with chronic pain are prescribed opioids to manage their condition. In addition to the highly addictive nature of these drugs that is fueling a nationwide epidemic, opioids are not even capable of solving the problem. They merely mask the pain and provide temporary relief, while the actual source of the pain remains and will continue to be bothersome as soon as usage of the drugs is stopped.

Physical therapy, on the other hand, is specifically founded on identifying the source of the pain and addressing it with a variety of exercises and other treatments. Since chronic pain is complicated, our Glenn Dale physical therapists will spend time explaining why the body reacts and sends out pain signals when there may not actually be any damage to the affected area. Targeted exercises and focused education have been found to improve outcomes in chronic pain patients, which is why we concentrate on these components in each of our treatment programs for these patients.

So if you’re dealing with pain that has been lasting for several months—or longer—without improving, it may be time to try physical therapy if you haven’t already done so. Contact CAM Physical Therapy and Wellness Services at 301-464-7390 to schedule an appointment at any of our three clinics in Glenn Dale/Bowie, Laurel, or Hyattsville, or click here for more information on Pain Awareness Month.