Below is a quick summary on PAIN – and as pain is the number one reason as to why patients come to our clinics, an accurate understanding of pain is essential!
- What is pain? It is an output from the brain to halt what you are doing so the brain can scan the damage to your body.
- It is a signal for action – either to stop what you are doing, or do something else.
- It does not correlate with the amount of tissue damage present.
- It is a projection of the brain’s assessment of risk
- What about chronic pain?
- a lot of the time scans or imaging of the painful site of a chronic pain sufferers will show no tissue damage – the brain will output pain signals depending on what it thinks is occurring rather than just tissue damage – and it gets its sources from several different avenues.
- These avenues include: past experience with pain (at this site and elsewhere in the body), and past education and learnings about pain (from family/friends, languages used, explanations heard, etc.).
Pain is complex, and how it is perceived is different for everyone. As practitioners, it is always important to remember what physical therapist Dr. Perry Nickelston says:
Treating body parts that hurt is easy. Figuring out why they hurt, not so much!