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Chronic Pain Treatment in Calgary

Many people with chronic pain are treated with medication and told to just learn to live with it, instead of searching out the source of the pain and treating that problem. Many chronic pain sufferers become addicted to pain meds and sometimes eventually go to chronic pain clinics in Calgary where they are weaned off these meds because they do not help in the long run, and they are just taught coping mechanisms.


Chronic pain is different than chronic pain syndrome, which is a neurologic disorder where nerves continue to send pain signals long after the injury has healed.


What is Chronic Pain?

Chronic pain is pain that has lasted more than six months. It may be mild, moderate, or severe. It may be constant or intermittent. It is often associated with musculoskeletal injuries such as back or neck injuries involving disc herniations and disc degeneration, and tendon and ligament injuries such as rotator cuff tendonitis / tendonosis, and plantar fasciitis, or any tendon or ligament that has been injured. Arthritis, which is due to cartilage damage, is another common cause.


Chronic pain indicates that a tissue has been injured, setting off pain signals from the nociceptors, or nerve endings that detect injury, and the body has been unable to repair the injury on its own. The tissues most commonly involved in chronic pain are tissues that have little or no blood supply - the intervertebral discs, the tendons and ligaments and the cartilage covering the ends of bones at joints.


In contrast, muscles, which have a rich blood supply, usually heal from injury quite quickly, often within days; broken bones generally heal in 6-8 weeks if there are no complicating issues, due to the extensive blood supply bones also have.


Tissues such as tendons, ligaments, and intervertebral discs can usually heal enough to relieve most of the pain if given the right treatment, regardless of how long the pain has been there. The key is to get blood, or the fluids, oxygen, and nutrients found in blood flowing into the injured tissue again so it has the building blocks required to heal the injury.


Pain Management at Alberta Back and Neck Rehab & Sports Injuries

Chronic Spine Pain in Calgary

In the spine, there are two main issues found with chronic pain. The first is injured or degenerated discs, which have been found to be the source of chronic back pain in 75% of cases, alone, or in conjunction with injured / arthritic facet joints.


Discs are the cartilage between the vertebra, and they are built like jelly doughnuts with jelly in the middle and rings of ligament, like tree rings around the outside. When discs are over stressed they usually start to tear from the inside out. Only the outer 2/3 of a normal disc has nerve endings, so initially you may not even know the disc was injured, but as the tear extends further to the outside, with each successive injury, the tear will eventually hit the nerve endings and this will cause pain.


Spinal discs also don't have a blood supply, so when they tear, they don't bleed like other ligaments (think about a sprained ankle, which is also a torn ligament) so they don't get an influx of the normal healing response like a sprained ankle does. In fact, when torn, the normal mechanism that draws fluids into the disc (the ball of jelly normally pushes the bones apart when you lie down, drawing fluids into the disc) is damaged so the disc gets less nutrition than it did before injury and as a result cannot heal and in fact starts degenerating.


In order to get a bulging, herniated or degenerated disc to heal slowly, but firmly stretching the injured disc creates a negative pressure inside the disc, which draws fluids and nutrients into the disc, allowing it to heal. As it heals, the pain gradually eases. This works for most people with pain from bulging, herniated or degenerated discs. Read more about our spine pain treatments in Calgary.


Chronic Back Pain in Calgary

There are, of course, a number of other causes of chronic musculoskeletal pain. A couple of examples are a bone that is 'out of place' which we often find causing pain in the back or foot or wrist following an injury; and myofascial trigger points (muscle knots) in the rotator cuff muscles are a common cause of long term shoulder pain, or muscle knots in the top of the neck, right under the skull, squeezing the greater occipital nerve that goes up the back of the head to the eyebrow region, causing chronic headaches. These types of muscle knots can also cause chronic pain in other areas of the body. These problems can usually be effectively treated with adjustments and myofascial release, respectively.


Other Causes of Chronic Pain in Calgary

Many people with chronic pain are treated with medication and told to just learn to live with it, instead of searching out the source of the pain and treating that problem. Many chronic pain sufferers become addicted to pain meds and sometimes eventually go to chronic pain clinics in Calgary where they are weaned off these meds because they do not help in the long run, and they are just taught coping mechanisms.


Chronic Pain Treatment with Cold Laser Therapy in Calgary

In tendons and ligaments, the offending injury is usually little tears, like a frayed rope, that cause the pain sensors to send pain signals through the nerves to your brain. Because these tissues have a poor blood supply, oral pain killers often don't provide much relief of the chronic pain because they are dissolved in your stomach and absorbed into your blood stream but don't get to where the injury is.


In these cases cold laser therapy is sometimes effective because laser is energy that can go deep into the tissues and act as a catalyst, speeding up the chemical reactions in the tissue, enabling the body to heal.


Chronic Pain Treatments with Shockwave Therapy in Calgary

Shockwave therapy is usually even more effective for chronic pain coming from ligament or tendon injuries. Shockwave therapy is a sound wave (not ultrasound) that penetrates deep into the tissues that creates micro trauma that stimulates the body to heal in a way that makes the body grow small arteries (arterioles) that gives the tissue an enriched blood supply which allows the body to regenerate the damaged tissues. Before and after MRI studies show the tendons are thicker after treatment than they were before, showing that the injured tendon was able to regenerate and relieve pain in the process.


Contact Us for Pain Management in Calgary

In many cases, even after years of chronic pain, if the proper treatment is given, the injured tissue will heal and the pain stops. So if you have chronic musculoskeletal pain in any area of your body, you need to be assessed by a muscle and joint expert, like the doctors at our pain clinic in Calgary, to see if there is a way to relieve the pain, instead of believing it is a life sentence that you have to just put up with.


Contact our chronic pain center in Calgary today at (403) 234-0040.

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