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Education & Self-Management of Pain

Self Management of Pain

The research indicates what Physical Therapists have long known – education is the key to rehabilitation! Education becomes even more important as we discuss chronic pain. Every PT has stories of patients they were able to treat quickly, who had good long term results. We thrive on those patients and we are just as happy as they are with their results! But when patients have struggled with a chronic condition for years, they tend to develop abnormal motor patterns (see previous post) and poor pain responses. Therefore, most chronic pain patients have better long term outcomes with education along the way to help them manage their symptoms through the years.|

Education is key and commonly termed “explaining pain”. This is incredibly important in chronic pain since the nervous system pathways that maintain chronic pain do not function in a way that we commonly understand. Acute pain indicates tissue injury and is the body’s response to protect the damaged tissue. With chronic pain the nervous system is no longer responding to acute injury and the “protection” it offers is no longer helpful, but detrimental to healing. Therefore, it is important to gain an understanding of how pain is produced, why pain can persist when tissues are healed, and how pain can be seen as a truly biopsychosocial phenomenon.

Self-management plans are implemented to help each patient achieve THEIR goals. These plans help to give each patient control over their pain and over their ability to return to their chosen activities in life. Although these plans are always patient specific, they generally include several of the same ingredients. First, reasonable goals and timelines for achieving them need to be established. Next, graded exposure and pacing are implemented to optimize sleep (because when you are sleeping is when you are healing!). Targeting stress reduction and finding useful strategies for relaxation for each patient is key to decreasing the load on the nervous system. Another component is helping each person find ways to modulate their own pain which may include use of heat and/or cold therapy at home.

Chronic pain requires a health care ally to walk with you and find the strategies that work best for YOUR body. If we can help you, please feel free to contact us 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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