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Coping with Chronic Pain

Coping with Chronic Pain

Chronic pain, according to the American Academy of Pain Medicine, affects 100 million American adults, more than heart disease, cancer and diabetes combined. An even more staggering statistic states the 1.5 billion people worldwide suffer from chronic pain. Millions of individuals wake up each day with persistent pain that can often be crippling. Many chronic pain conditions affect an older generation, however there are numerous cases where those similar symptoms affect younger to middle age individuals. Pain signals keep firing in the nervous system for weeks, months and even years. There many have been an initial mishap- sprained back, serious infection or there may be an ongoing cause of pain- arthritis, cancer, ear infection. And even some individuals suffer from chronic pain without having any previous injury or evidence of body damage.

Common Sources Of Chronic Pain

Respondents of a National Institute of Health Statistics survey indicated the most common sources of chronic pain:

Chronic Pain

  • Low Back Pain- 27%
  • Severe Headaches or Migraine Pain 15%
  • Neck Pain 15%
  • Facial Ache or Pain 4%

Other pain condition include:

  • Cancer Pain
  • Arthritis Pain
  • Neurogenic pain (caused by damage to the peripheral nerves of central nervous system)

Chronic Pain Case Studies

A recent news report from, WGAL News 8, highlighted a facility that has a focus on helping their patients cope with pain. News 8 medical reporter, Susan Shapiro, checked out the program at Pinnacle Health in Cumberland County recently and shared the steps they are taking to combat this ‘silent epidemic.’

Bonnie Turner was a former librarian who loved her job but can no longer work because of her severe chronic pain caused by Fibromyalgia. Her pain limits her abilities to do normal day-to-day activities, but she is ready to begin physical therapy to help with the pain. Psychologist Christopher Ziegler, is on the staff of the chronic pain management program that Bonnie is beginning at Pinnacle Health. Ziegler tell WGAL that chronic pain affects every part of a patient’s life- their whole life in general changes, how they feel about themselves changes, they experience more stress and some become depressed.


At Pinnacle Health, this rehabilitation program’s goal is to learn how to be well again and live life with less pain. Patients work with physical therapists performing safe exercises and stretch to increase muscle strength and decrease inflammation and pain.  Along with the traditional, land-based forms of rehabilitation (as shown in the video) Pinnacle has a warm water, HydroWorx 2000 series pool, with a fully adjustable floor for easy access in and out of the pool. Warm water therapy allows patients to move freely without the pain experienced on land because of water’s unweighting properties.

Another patient featured, has experienced some success in decreasing her pain level during her time at Pinnacle. Andrea Bell arrived with a very high pain level and now tells us that there are days where she does not experience pain at all!  Bonnie Turner hopes to experience similar results as Andrea Bell. Turner and the therapists know it is possible as long as patients remain consistent with their exercises, even after ‘graduating from the program.’

Watch the WGAL News segment to learn more about the chronic pain program at Pinnacle Health in Pennsylvania.


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