Chronic Pain

Chronic pain can be defined as “pain that extends for a long period of time, or beyond the expected period of healing and/or represents low levels of underlying pathology that does not explain the presence and extent of the pain” – Turk et al 2010.

Chronic pain in the apparent absence of pathology may be due to modification of nerves and an increased sensitivity of the nervous system. In addition to these biological factors, it is believed that genetic factors and prior life experiences may predispose some to develop chronic pain problems. Furthermore, factors such a person’s social environment, cognitions and mood and emotions also contribute to the experience of chronic pain.

It is clear that chronic pain is a complex condition that affects all aspects of a person’s life. Currently available treatments are rarely capable of totally eliminating the painful sensations and “curing” chronic pain. Because the pain persists, it is likely that environmental, emotional and cognitive factors will interact with the already sensitized nervous system, contributing to the persistence of pain and disability.

Evidence-based research has shown that chronic pain is best managed by a “biopsychosocial” approach where the focus is on improving the person’s function and their ability to participate in their normal daily activities despite the pain. In line with this approach, our Exercise Physiologists will help you to achieve:

  • sustainable improvements in your physical capability.
  • to develop independence via the acceptance of self-management skills and strategies
  • help to reduce your reliance on treatment and medication.
  • This will be done through in-depth education regarding pain, guidance with goal setting and participation in a carefully graded exercise program and assistance with the identification and minimization of unhelpful thought processes that contribute to the pain.