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  • Alison Synakowski

The “Chronic Rehabber” Part 1 - Is your real issue being addressed?

Have you found yourself in and out of physical therapy or thru a ton of healthcare providers and either still have the same issue or have various issues "pop up" all of the time. Unfortunately this is not uncommon and I would like to try to shed some light on WHY this may be happening. This is the first of a 3 part series (unless I get more ideas along the way :) )

Here are some possibilities…

The underlying issue is not being addressed

Yes - some attention to the local source of pain is needed but our body works as a whole - if the body is addressed in pieces vs as a whole system we’re missing the boat.

For example - after an ankle sprain - yes you need to get range of motion back, work localized strength and work balance. But you also need to be able to squat, push, pull, lunge, carry things, jump, etc. If these major movements are not addressed through your rehab process (or movement is minimally addressed - e.g. passive care = electric stem, heat/ice, manual therapy only) - chances are even after the tissues heal you may be left with some movement issues that affect your body and lead to pain or injury in other places, eventually.

There are other factors or underlying issues that influence your well being.

The acronym SNAPS is utilized to help identify lifestyle factors that impact one’s well being.


Smoking is associated with many health risks. With regards to musculoskeletal pains it impacts tissue healing due to reduction in oxygen levels in the blood (reducing healing abilities) and vasoconstriction (narrowing of blood vessels) - which then can lead to tissue ischemia (lack of oxygen) and death.


A well balanced diet - and one that is low in processed foods, refined sugar and enriched products - and high in whole foods - fruits, vegetables, quality meat, legumes, beans, nuts, fish, etc - is crucial for tissue health and gut health. Each individual may vary in their needs, but if you are finding you are constantly feeling “inflamed” or multiple joints are always hurting - nutritional factors really need to be addressed by an expert to help find what works best.


Among many other health concerns - with regards to the musculoskeletal system, excessive alcohol consumption can lead to thinning bones, muscle cramps, nerve damage, inability to absorb proper nutrients and impact blood flow due to cardiovascular effects.


Meeting the minimal daily activity recommends as set by the WHO (World Health Organization) should also be a very high priority. They consistent of exercising to a “huff and puff” level 30 minutes daily (150 minutes minimum in a week) as well as incorporating 2 days of resistance training and overall reducing sedentary behavior throughout the day.


Regular participation in social activities or a group can assist with reducing feelings of loneliness and improve overall life satisfaction. It also has a very positive effect on a positive self-perceived health. This is often lacking for people who have chronic pain issues and rarely addressed.

Any one of these factors can influence how your body feels. If you find that your whole body hurts or you are struggling to overcome one issue, various issues, it may be time to look deeper into the factors. These are key factors to discuss with your own healthcare providers and is a call to healthcare providers to regularly address all areas noted here to best assisted our patients.

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