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Decreasing Chronic Pain

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One hundred million adults in America suffer from chronic pain. This is greater than the number of individuals affected by diabetes, cancer, and heart disease combined! The evidence on chronic pain and what decreases symptoms or improves outcomes for this population is plentiful. However, clear and decisive answers on what should be done to decrease chronic pain have not been found. The research is indicating that a multimodal approach is required to treat each patient individually with their personal beliefs, goals, and expectations.

There has been one modality that repeatedly decreases symptoms – EXERCISE! Research has found that adults who participate in higher levels of physical activity have more effective pain modulation. In fact, exercise can decrease the perception of pain even if you are not exercising the painful region. Say that you have low back pain and decide to go ride a recumbent bike. Your back is supported so the bike riding does not increase your symptoms AND your leg movement helps to decrease you perception of pain. (In addition, you burn calories, improve heart health, and release endorphins which are all good things.) This is called exercise induced hypoalgesia and has been shown to affect a multitude of chronic pain conditions. Five systematic reviews concluded that walking improved pain for individuals with chronic musculoskeletal pain, low back pain, knee osteoarthritis, and intermittent claudication.
Now, you may have tried exercise for your chronic pain and found that it increased symptoms. There is one caveat found in the literature – not all exercise is created equally. Some conditions respond better to cardiovascular exercise while others have been shown to improve with strengthening. Understanding the original source of pain generation as well as the current systems affected by chronic pain are all important in designing an optimal exercise program. If you have any questions regarding the optimum exercise for you, please feel free to contact us here at Physical Therapy for everyBODY at (425)658-4944 or amykonvalinpt@gmail.com.

Dr. Amy Konvalin

Dr. Amy Konvalin

Struggling with pain and dysfunction can impact every part of our lives — it drains our energy, distracts us from our goals, and keeps us from the people and activities we love. As an Orthopedic Clinical Specialist, Dr. Amy Konvalin understands how frustrating those limitations can be — and she knows how to help get you back to the life you want to live! Beginning with a focused evaluation, Dr. Amy works to determine the root causes of your pain, as well as understanding how it affects the way you move through your world. Dysfunctional patterns of movement often grow worse with time and cause further damage if left untreated — so it’s important to address these issues as soon as possible. Dr. Amy knows there is no one-size-fits-all plan for success, and she partners with patients to identify their unique treatment goals and personal values. Using these goals as a guide, Amy uses her doctorate training in manual (hands-on) therapy and exercise prescription to treat patients with a wide variety of medical challenges and histories throughout the Maple Valley, Black Diamond and Covington areas. Dr. Amy is also a wife to a Boeing superstar/former C-130 navigator. While they lived in Germany, Dr. Amy was able to volunteer with the US Army to treat military personnel and civilians on base. She has two beautiful teenage ballerinas who keep her on her toes and educate her on all things ballet! Bailey, the princess pup, is her running partner and her napping partner. In the spare moments in between, Amy enjoys reading, yoga, wine with friends, Pilates, and walking on the beach.
Dr. Amy Konvalin

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