Why does my pain keep reoccurring?


Why does my pain keep reoccurring?

Physiotherapy helps patients to improve mobility, remain active and reach their specific goals. Sometimes, once the patient has achieved their goals, they may experience a flare up of the previous episode weeks, months or even a couple of years later.  This repeated cycle of pain can be very frustrating! This article will list a few of the reasons and contributing factors as to why these recurrences can happen and how you can limit the chance of your condition coming back!

  1. Nature of work: Many times it is difficult to change what or how you do your work.  The work itself can be too demanding physically and sometimes it can be a challenge to try to modify the nature of this work.  Stress at work can also be a contributing factor!  If these variables are ignored, it is possible for pain or re-injury to occur.  In this case, we try to modify the work, taking into account physical and environmental factors, adding stretch breaks into your day, implement “ergonomics” into work activities (ergonomics is making sure the work you do doesn’t lead to injury) and provide tips on how to control the pain, stretch in between work and if possible modify the work station.

  1. Muscle strength:  A very common reason for returning pain can be weak muscles or muscle imbalance.  If muscle strength and endurance is not maintained following treatment, it is possible for a recurrence to happen again.  One must be aware that these weaknesses and imbalances have developed over many years and correcting them will take time. While treating, we work with our patients to create an individualized exercise plan with detailed instructions so when they are finished with Physio, they can continue with their plan at home over the long term.  The more we show you what to do, and how to do it safely, the more successful you will be at preventing a recurrence of your lost mobility!  Unfortunately, sometimes people do not continue with the exercises or they tend to not progress with them or they do not stay consistent with them. 

  1. Stopping treatment too soon: When a patient comes to us, we let them know about the cause of the problem and also that the pain or limited mobility are all the symptoms of the problem.  Often, as patients start to feel better symptomatically, they might not continue with the treatment or exercises. Treating the symptoms does not FIX the cause.  Treating the root cause of the problem and getting better might take a bit more time, even when you are feeling better, but it will go a long way limiting the chance of the problem coming back.  It requires patience and commitment to reach the goal.

  1. Degenerative condition: As we grow older, it is normal to have wear and tear of the bones and cartilage. These changes are degenerative changes that can cause pain. Usually, the first episode of pain recovers quickly.  However, “flare ups” and re-injury tend to happen.  Ignoring the early signs of a flare up starting, or not being mindful of activities that could contribute to it can lead to the degeneration progressing.  In cases of degeneration in the joints, the treatment is focused on symptomatic relief and strengthening the supporting structures of the joints.  Through improving joint stability, flexibility, and even using supportive braces (make sure you choose the right one!) we can reduce the pace at which degeneration is occurring.  We can’t change what has happened in the joint, but we can support and protect them, and keep the joints functioning normally despite this “wear and tear”!

  1. Lifestyle Choices: There are various ways in which we tend to make poor lifestyle choices like our posture while sitting, gaming, texting or sleeping.  Nutritional choices that lead to carrying around extra pounds can also add to extra strain on the body.   Living with high stress is another often less talked about factor in contributing to pain, loss of mobility and recurrence of past episodes of back pain or neck pain. Over many years these factors can lead to pain which keeps flaring up every now and then. 

Have a question about Physio?  Is there something nagging you and you’re not sure what the best next step is?   Schedule a Free call with our Physio to get your questions answered and help move you in the right direction!