About Pain

What Is It?

According to the International Association for the Study of Pain, pain is an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience which we primarily describe as or associate with tissue damage. In fact, there are many resources that define pain. Many support that pain is unpleasant and often accompanies injury. A more encompassing understanding of pain is stated by Margo McCaffery (1999), an RN who was a pioneer in the field of pain management who said, “Pain is whatever the experiencing person says it is, existing whenever he says it does.”

Pain can be acute, like what you’d feel in your leg muscle immediately after twisting your knee, or it may become chronic, like pain from an arthritic joint which progresses over time and fluctuates in severity and functional limitations. In both cases, pain is subjective, not an emotion or measure that another can rate, but one that is rated by each individual who experiences pain. Others can look for signs of pain such as changes in one’s posture when their back hurts or a facial grimace when a swollen ankle is moved; however, as a subjective, self-rated symptom, no one except for the person experiencing it can validate its presence.

Your healthcare professional may ask you to rate your pain on a scale of 1-10 where “0” is no pain and “10” is the worst pain you could experience; however, these rating cannot be compared between individuals. Pain is not always a bad thing. Our bodies respond through withdrawal from the painful activity or stimulus. It’s a protection warning from within to prevent further tissue or emotional injury.

Currently, there is a lot of media, political and professional attention being given to ways to safely manage pain. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), physical therapy and other non-drug/non-opioid approaches are being advocated for effective ways to manage chronic pain. At Aegis Therapies, we have multiple non-pharmacological approaches to assist with managing and eliminating pain. Though the decision to use pharmacotherapy is one you arrive at with your respective physician, Aegis therapists become an active member of your healthcare team working with your physician to utilize safe, non-pharmacological approaches whenever possible.

How We Treat It

Depending on the nature of your pain, an Occupational or Physical Therapist can provide treatment to reduce muscle strains or spasms, provide joint protection, or offer alternative ways to move and complete your activities of daily life, or ADLs. An Aegis therapist will provide clinical guidance on whether you should restrict your activity or promote movement to regain function. They may provide you with instruction in temporary ways to move, complete your work and enjoy life while protecting your injury and reducing your pain. You may benefit from complimentary approaches such as guided imaging, behavioral cognitive therapy, yoga or tai chi.

One of the Aegis differences is our evidence-based use of modalities to reduce swelling, inhibit pain, and promote joint and body motion. As you heal, your Aegis therapist will progress your therapy to incorporate muscle strengthening including the potential to use progressive resistive exercise equipment. You will be instructed in joint protection techniques, safe body mechanics and adaptive/protective seating if indicated to further alleviate your painful symptoms.

What You Can Expect

Pain management can be challenging, often treatment approaches need to be modified based on the changing nature of chronic pain. Aegis works with you to identify activities to avoid, movements to change and what options you have to regain your active lifestyle as pain-free as possible.

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