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  • Anne-Marie Mougeot

What causes chronic pain?⁣⁣

⁣That is the question, isn’t it. ⁣

If only we knew more about the cause of pain, we could understand how to treat it, right?⁣

Is pain caused by the alignment of our joints or posture?⁣

Lack of exercise? Or too much, or incorrect exercise?⁣

Or what about an old injury that hasn’t healed? ⁣

And when all the tests come back clear, does it mean that the pain is all in our head? ⁣

𝗣𝗮𝗶𝗻 𝗶𝘀 𝗰𝗼𝗺𝗽𝗹𝗲𝘅. ⁣

When pain is a direct and immediate result of an injury or a symptom of a problem in the body, we refer to it as “𝘢𝘤𝘶𝘵𝘦 𝘱𝘢𝘪𝘯”. ⁣

Acute pain is usually short lasting and goes away within 3 months. ⁣

Sometimes though, long after tissues have healed, pain can persist. Or even seem to come out of nowhere. ⁣

Once pain has lasted longer than months, it is referred to as 𝘤𝘩𝘳𝘰𝘯𝘪𝘤 or 𝘱𝘦𝘳𝘴𝘪𝘴𝘵𝘦𝘯𝘵 pain. ⁣

There are various factors that can contribute to persistent pain, including: ⁣

  • Genetics⁣

  • Lifestyle factors (ex. exercise or⁣

  • movement, nutrition, sleep)⁣⁣

  • Psychological factors (depression, anxiety, & stress)⁣

  • Social factors ⁣

  • Physiological/ biological factors⁣

  • Inflammation⁣

  • The sensitivity of your nervous system ⁣

...And the list goes on. ⁣

Think of chronic pain not as being a 𝘴𝘺𝘮𝘱𝘵𝘰𝘮 of an injury, but rather as a condition on its own, which largely involves your nervous system, and possibly also the immune and hormonal systems. ⁣

Complex, chronic pain may not respond as well to traditional approaches - which is sadly why it is so prevalent (about 1 in 5 people live with chronic pain). ⁣

As such, we need to shift our approach to managing chronic pain, and look more broadly towards which factors are most impactful in a particular individual. ⁣

There is no one size fits all approach, but there are many options and good reason to be hopeful that we can reduce pain and improve quality of life. ⁣

If you’re an osteopathic professional and want to learn about up to date, evidence-informed clinically relevant pain management, join the wait list for the Chronic Pain Management in Osteopathic Practice course. ⁣

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