Do you have chronic pain? If you have had pain in some area of your body last at least a consecutive 12 weeks, then you have what doctors call chronic pain. You aren’t suffering alone: about 1.5 billion people qualify, with some of the most common forms of pain located in the neck, the back, and as sciatica.
The American Physical Therapy Association says that relief can be found through regular physical therapy. Treatments might include improving one’s posture through specific exercises, stretches, flexibility and strengthening exercises, and body mechanics instruction. The goal is to help the patient learn how their body developed the chronic pain, and to take simple steps to reverse it.
The sciatic nerve is actually five nerve roots. Sciatic nerve pain begins in the lower back and travels down the leg. It is usually only felt on one side of the body. The underlying causes vary, but can be the result of a herniated disk or arthritis in the spine.
If the spine requires surgery, which is actually not very common, physical therapy will be of assistance during after care. Physical therapy for sciatica will focus on chiropractic techniques for the lower back, stretches, massage, and for a more holistic approach, acupuncture.
Back pain is will effect about 80% of the population at some point in their lives, at least according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Lower back pain is particularly responsive to physical therapy. Bad posture as a result of an unawareness of proper body mechanics plagues most adults. Simple strengthening and flexibility exercises help most suffers.
Lower back pain may also be a result of a pulled muscle from lifting a heavy object improperly, in which a muscle or ligament might have been torn. It could be the result of arthritis in the spine, a fracture, or a ruptured disk. While the pain is self-diagnosable, a doctor is needed when the cause require more intensive treatment.
Another common area that suffers from chronic pain is the neck. Neck pain can be caused by similar issues to the back, with incorrect posture being a big culprit. An irritation of the nerves in the neck can travel down into the shoulder and arm. Chronic sufferers may also experience frequent headaches.
Neck pain can present more urgency when seeking care because the pain is so close to the brain. If the neck pain occurs after an injury, such as whiplash, it is critical that the individual seeks medical care as soon as possible. The same goes for pain that causes tingling, numbness, or occurs alongside a fever and chills. These are symptoms of a serious problem, not necessarily chronic neck pain.
Chronic pain has been said to negatively effect one’s quality of life. One study found that 59% of participants said their ability to enjoy their lives was hampered. When pain lasts for 12 weeks or more, it is high time to seek help. Physical therapy can provide relief.