Chronic Pain Treatment in St. Louis
Chronic pain treatment in St. Louis. Anyone who has had to deal with chronic pain knows the debilitating effect it can have on your life. Sometimes, it goes on so long that we lose sight of how good we used to feel, and how good we’re capable of feeling. At it’s worse, the pain can keep us from comfortably completing daily activities like carrying in groceries, or the activities we love most, whether that be dominating your local softball league or picking up your grandchildren.
Axes Physical Therapy is a group of provider-owned physical therapy treatment centers dedicated to helping our St. Louis patients find meaningful relief through customized and evidence-backed chronic pain treatment. If you’re finally ready to move on from chronic pain, call the location nearest you, contact us online, or request an appointment for safe and effective chronic pain treatment.
What Is Chronic Pain?
Chronic pain is pain that lasts for longer than 12 weeks, which is generally considered to be the “normal” healing period. The pain can be constant or can come and go, can be localized or radiate through your body, and can be anything from dull soreness to searing, intense pain.
According to the CDC, in 2019 20.4% of U.S. adults had chronic pain. 7.4% of adults (or 36.4% of those with chronic pain) had “high-impact” chronic pain, defined as pain that, on “most days” or “every day,” limits work or life activities. Anyone who suffers from frequent pain symptoms will tell you that it causes far more than just physical discomfort. Chronic pain reduces quality of life, leads to higher medical expenses, and leads to significant economic costs. It can also lead to anxiety, depression, and trouble sleeping.
What Causes Chronic Pain?
Pain, in general, occurs when nerves called nociceptors detect damaged tissue, and send a signal through your spinal cord up to your brain. It’s your body’s way of telling you that something is wrong. Often, pain is caused by an injury, infection, or other medical condition. “Acute pain” occurs suddenly, usually because of a known, underlying cause such as burns, cuts, broken bones, dental work, or surgery. It can last for anywhere from a moment to several weeks.
By contrast, people can experience chronic pain for several reasons. In some cases there may be an injury that hurts even after it’s healed. Other times, it’s caused by a medical condition, or occurs as our bodies wear down as we age. Sometimes, there is no discernible cause for someone’s chronic pain. Common types and causes of chronic pain include:
- Arthritis and other conditions that cause joint pain — The soft tissue in our joints can become damaged, inflamed, or wear down over time or due to an injury, causing joint pain.
- A variety of conditions that cause lower back pain — Up to 84% of adults suffer from back pain at some point in their lives. Causes can be poor posture or technique, wear and tear at a job that requires physical exertion, sciatica, or disc injuries that impinge on the nerves in the spinal column.
- Cancer pain — Tumors can cause pain when they push up against tissue, nerves, or organs.
- Fibromyalgia — While an exact cause isn’t yet known, this refers to pain that affects your muscles and joints throughout your body.
- Neurogenic pain and psychogenic pain — Sometimes, pain does not occur for a physical reason, but because there is an issue in the nervous system, or because of mental health issues or your personal history.
There are many tips for relieving chronic pain, and while many are effective, many of our St. Louis patients have felt like they tried everything and still can’t feel better. Often, physical therapy becomes their path toward meaningful pain relief and getting back to the activities they love.
How Do Physical Therapists in St. Louis Help With Chronic Pain Treatment?
There are many possible options for chronic pain treatment in St. Louis, including medication, chiropractic care, massage, and regular exercise. Studies show that incorporating physical therapy into your treatment plan can lead to significant improvement. You can come to any Axes location in the St. Louis area for a free screening to better understand what might be causing your chronic pain. We’ll get to know you and your pain better. How often do you have pain? What makes it worse? What makes it better? How is limiting you in your daily life? From there, we’ll form a team with you and your doctor to come up with a personalized treatment plan aimed at getting you back to the things you love most.
Physical therapy helps by increasing your strength, balance, posture, and range of motion. Collectively improving those aspects of optimal movement health relieves pain and improves your quality of life by making your body function better, and breaking up any signals to your brain that something may be wrong. Depending on you, the nature of your chronic pain, your age, and the activity level you wish to get back to, your treatment plan in St. Louis may include:
Exercise increases endorphins, your body’s natural, feel-good hormone, which not only reduces pain but eases related symptoms like stress and depression. A licensed St. Louis physical therapist can lead you through exercises that will safely and effectively improve your mobility. With guided exercise, your brain will come to understand that certain movements can be achieved without pain, rebuilding your brain’s trust in the rest of your body. Through guided exercise, we’ll be able to teach you safe exercises you can do on your own.
Manual Therapy and Soft Tissue Mobilization
Manual therapy incorporates therapeutic touch to promote healing and relaxation of the surrounding tissues. Your St. Louis physical therapist will use their hands to gently move and put pressure on your muscles and joints. Studies have shown that manual therapy combined with guided exercise is more effective than either technique used alone.
With instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization, physical therapists use specialized tools, like Graston®, instead of their hands, to improve tissue alignment and identify degenerative tissue and soft tissue restrictions.
Trigger point dry needling is a relatively new tool that more and more St. Louis physical therapists are incorporating into their treatment plans. It involves using thin, filiform needles to penetrate damaged or inflamed muscles and connective tissue. In doing so, it stimulates the body’s “healing mode” and encourages the flow of blood and nutrients to the region.
Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS)
TENS works by placing electrodes on the skin near where you are experiencing pain. It delivers low-voltage currents, which releases endorphins and stimulates nerve cells that block the transmission of pain signals.
Understanding the cause of your pain and how to cope with it can have a significant positive effect on your chronic pain treatment in St. Louis. We’ll help you learn appropriate posture and movement techniques and practices, as well as healthy lifestyle tips like diet recommendations.
Call Axes Physical Therapy For Your Chronic Pain Treatment in St. Louis
At Axes Physical Therapy in St. Louis, our goals are simple: deliver positive patient outcomes and help our patients get back to the activities they love. Whether you miss being able to hit a breakaway layup like you used to, or just want to walk up the stairs pain-free, speak to a St. Louis physical therapist today or request an appointment online for meaningful chronic pain treatment.