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This month the Good Health Academy ran a CPD event on the subject of Chronic Pain.

The International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP), defines pain as ‘an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage, or described in terms of such damage.’

Here at the Good Health Centre our practitioners see patients with chronic pain on a daily basis, therefore we feel it is important for them to keep up-to-date with current research and practice, and to further their understanding of an integrated approach to complex pain presentations.

Lecturing on the day were osteopaths Ami Sevi, and Antonia Adeniji. Ami specialises in the management, treatment and prevention of chronic pain. He enjoys an investigative approach, and focuses on desensitising the nervous system.

Antonia teaches at undergraduate and graduate level in the capacity of a clinic and technique tutor. Her approach to treatment is increasingly aimed at integrative function of various systems and away from analysis of postural imbalances as a cause of pain and dysfunction.

Together, they organised a course with a variety of learning outcomes including: furthering a practitioners understanding of an integrated approach to complex pain presentations; and applying clinical reasoning based on current concepts in pain science, enabling practitioners to identify signs that may point to dysregulation in systems other than the musculoskeletal system alone.

Alongside the lectures, the practitioners were given practical exercises such as case studies and role plays which they appraised, and subsequently formed treatment plans using clinical reasoning which were then developed as the day progressed.

Why is an integrated approach to chronic pain important?

Pain is subjective. Two people may have the exact same cause of pain, but may not feel the same degree of pain; and sometimes a person may feel pain without an apparent physical cause.

Let’s use back pain as an example …

Two patients seek medical help for back pain:

  • Patient 1 discovers that he has a slipped disc which can be corrected by surgery or manipulation.
  • Patient 2 doesn’t appear to have any physical abnormalities.

In the case of Patient 2, it is particularly important that the practitioner uses an integrative approach. Is the pain originating from an emotional issue? Has the patient suffered a recent bereavement and their body is expressing emotional feelings in the form of back pain?

It’s important to remember that a human being is not just a collection of independent organs; each structure relates to another, meaning an emotional disturbance may affect other systems and manifest as physical pain.

Antonia has a special interest in the psychological makeup of a presenting condition, and has worked closely with psychotherapists in the rehabilitation of chronic conditions.

An osteopath may also incorporate factors such as, nutritional advice, breathing exercises, and blood sugar regulation. All these aspects can have a huge impact on health and well being; they are often not well managed, and are usually quite easily fixed.

“The Chronic Pain seminar was very useful; it provided a very good overview and review of chronic pain, from multiple vantage points: functional, neurological and emotional. It gave insights on how to address complex cases.” – Practitioner testimonial.