Persistent Pain

Sometimes pain persists because an injury has not been adequately addressed and your body continues to get aggravated by certain activities. Sometimes, you have developed a compensation strategy (our brains/bodies are great at keeping us upright and moving, even if they are not doing it well!) that causes pain in other areas or persistent aggravation of your joints and muscles. Sometimes one of these challenges is present, but there is also another element, known as "central sensitization" that can develop if pain is present for more than a few months.

Our therapists employ advanced assessment techniques to determine what factors may be playing a role in your recovery and we tailor your treatment to address these factors. Treatment for persistent pain may include education in the use of coping strategies, relaxation exercises, body mapping activities, therapeutic Qi Gong or yoga, visualization techniques, pacing techniques and/or increasing your knowledge of the physical processes involved in the development and maintenance pain.

It is very important to note that having persistent pain is not your fault. Sometimes, people feel guilty because someone has implied them that chronic pain is all in their head. What is important to know is that although psychological factors can be important (and who doesn't feel more sore when they are stressed after a long day), the changes that happen in persistent pain are mostly in the processing centers of the brain over which we do not have conscious control. This makes treatment very interesting and challenging, but it is also important to note that the changes in this part of the brain occur in response to pain, and they are the result of neuroplasticity (brain adaptation). Because the brain is able to adapt, there is good reason to believe that sensitization can be altered given the right types of treatment.

Cara Humphreys does not offer the Progressive Goal Attainment Program (PGAP) as a standalone treatment, however, she did take the training to administer this tool and incorporates some of the strategies she learned when she is helping patients with chronic pain. The PGAP is a scientifically proven cognitive behavioural program to help to restore ability to people who are experiencing chronic pain.

Cara Humphreys has also taken training on pain education, pain neuroscience, clinical application of techniques to alter pain responses and guided motor imagery.

There are many great resources available online for those in pain. Pain BC is a good place to start, as is the NOI group from Australia. Here is the link to a youtube video that many patients find is a helpful introduction to understanding pain: