Pain can be loosely divided into acute and chronic.
Acute pain is sudden onset or, of short duration. Acute can also describe a severe state of a condition.
Chronic pain is often seen as ongoing. More correctly, chronic refers to pain of 3 months or more. However, this time frame may actually be shorter in some cases. Chronic symptoms may not be present constantly. Symptoms may come and go. This means it goes through active stages and periods of remission.
Management of pain, as a result, differs according to the condition and the pain presentation.
Managing Acute Pain
Acute pain is often managed with pain relief, anti-inflammatories and muscle relaxants from your GP or pharmacy. Simple application of hot/cold packs can also be useful.
Osteopathically we will work using gentle passive movement to improve joint mobility and stretching technique to relax contracted/spasm in the muscles. If the pain doesn’t improve significantly within 2-3 sessions X-Ray and possibly ultrasound will be requested to eliminate more complicated causes of pain.
Managing Chronic Pain
Chronic pain can be partly mechanical like Osteoarthritis/ degeneration. However, some chronic pain can be driven by altered pain signalling in the nervous system. Make the tissues overreact to a mechanical stimulus which is still perceived as pain. But the soft tissue component may only have a small role in the pain experienced.
Managing chronic pain osteopathically is then a process of using a manual technique to improve mobility, reduce tension and stabile. However other strategies will be used to help reduce the sensitivity of the nervous system.
Simple body awareness, relaxation and breathing techniques will be taught to actively help the chronic pain sufferer to cope outside of treatment. Often specific medications and pain management/rehabilitation facilities will also be utilised through the GP.
Osteopathic techniques will be specific to the region of the pain no matter whether its acute or chronic pain.
Our practice treats adults using these techniques;
- Articulation of joints a gentle rhythmic movement through the joint to restore mobility.
- Inhibition of muscles when muscles get tight and contracted hindering normal activity. Using inhibition, a process of gentle slow pressure on the tight muscles. This slow pressure fools the nerve reflex signals to the muscle into resetting and corrects the tightness.
- Balanced ligamentous technique Ligaments are guide ropes that stabilize and limit excessive movement of joints. When the ligaments are strained the joint becomes unstable and mobility is affected. By stretching and compressing the joint space which the ligaments cross, the uneven tension and strain in the ligaments can be reoriented.
- Muscle energy technique is an approach working to improve strength and muscle stability which is very useful at restoring power and symmetry in large muscle groups.