Each month we’ll bring you a note from one of our therapists. It might be something they’re reading, learning or just something they want to share.
This month’s note is from Blake Hardy, PT, DPT:
Being able to predict the future would make life much easier. If we knew what was going to happen, we might change certain decisions or behaviors in a beneficial way. In physical therapy we try to give people some ideas about when the storm clouds might be forming and what to do to avoid things getting worse. Having a few indicators that a person can use as predictors can be helpful in reducing the intensity or number of areas of pain. A recent study looked at several factors to see if they predicted a spread of pain present in a patient (1).
What did they find? There was an increase in pain sites with emotional exhaustion, mental distress, sleep disturbance, and headache intensity.
What’s the take home message? When pain is present and you notice these other factors starting, get help before your pain involves other areas of your body. Recognize your emotional health will eventually take a physical toll. Other problems like job dissatisfaction and sleep difficulties are the storm clouds warning of darker days ahead. Keep these factors in mind and use them to know when you should be getting help for what is happening in your life.
Source: Psychological predictors of change in the number of musculoskeletal pain sites among Norwegian employees: a prospective study, Christensen et al. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders (2017) 18:140