Pain management is a multidisciplinary medical approach to caring for someone with complex or chronic pain. Research shows that education about pain along with light cardiovascular exercise can be helpful at reducing pain, with much fewer side effects than medications.
Not all pain is related to a direct tissue injury, so standard physical therapy models may not be as helpful.
Nerves send signals to the brain constantly about the body and the environment. The brain decides whether or not to pay attention to these signals. For example, some experience tissue injury without pain, like a bruise whose origin is a mystery. Conversely, some have pain without any true injury or have more pain than what would be expected given the injury. When this happens, the brain and nerves become more sensitive, and the body becomes on high alert. This is called central sensitization. Research shows specific education can be helpful to reduce pain related to this type of nerve sensitivity.
In addition to typical physical therapy activities, patients will receive specialized education about how to reduce sensitivity to nerves, how to gradually and safely increase activity tolerance, and to reduce overall pain and improve function.
Not all treatments, tests and services are available at all Mayo Clinic Health System locations. Check with your preferred location in advance.