Chronic Pain

What constitutes chronic pain?
Chronic pain is any pain that you have had for more than 3 months; also, any pain that you have had for more than 6 weeks that is not improving is at risk of becoming chronic.

The real problem with chronic pain is not so much the length of time that you have had the condition, but rather, where is the centre of pain actually located? Non-malignant pain (pain not caused by cancer) is actually a warning sign which usually begins somewhere in the body, most commonly the musculoskeletal system. On occasion, pain will cease to be a warning sign and will maintain its presence regardless of the condition of the tissues that first initiated the painful response. For example, phantom pain is pain that we perceive to be in a limb after the limb has been amputated. Obviously, the limb is no longer the source of the pain, the source has now moved. It may have become a referred pain from another tissue, or the centre of the pain may have moved to the spinal cord or brain. These latter two are called nerve pain or central pain and are frequently only successfully treated with some very exotic pharmaceuticals.

There are several interesting books on the market with regard to the treatment of central nervous system pain. In regards to our clinic suffice it to say nerve pain is not very responsive to rehabilitation. However, a good multidisciplinary rehab program can often help even nerve pain patients to enlarge their activities of daily living. The Chronic Pain Management Guidelines (Ontario 2000) suggest multi-modal therapy (multidisciplinary) as well as noting that there is some evidence for manual therapy and manipulation (chiropractic specialties,) especially in cases of chronic low back and neck pain.

Treatment Definitions: Canadian Chiropractic Association (Glenerin 1993)

Chronic: Describes a condition which arose more than three months prior to the patient seeking treatment.
Active Care: Modes of treatment/care requiring “active” involvement, participation and responsibility on the part of the patient in recovery and rehabilitation.

  • Restores joint function
  • Improves strength and stability
  • Promotes healing
  • Increases patient responsibility through active participation (exercise, posture etc.)

If you have more questions regarding your specific problem call our office at (780) 963-4608 to set up a consultation with Dr. McLeod.
This information represents only a brief summary of the conditions discussed and is presented as a public service by the Immanuel Healing Centre. For this or any other health problems about which you have concerns please consult personally with a health care professional.