How pain works:
In simple terms pain is a sensory and emotional experience that your brain controls and it does not need to be associated with actual injury or tissue damage. The primary function of pain is to be the bodies alarm system to let your brain know something is wrong.
Receptors in your tissues respond to certain stimuli and send an electronic signal to your spinal cord. Here the electronic signal causes a chemical response in the nerve endings and these chemicals trigger an electric signal leading up to different parts of your brain. (1) After prolonged pain, this system can become altered giving people chronic pain symptoms where the pain doesn’t match with any injury or causative factors. When constant stimulus causes chemicals in the spinal cord to trigger neurons, some neurons that shouldn’t carry an alarm signal now cause pain.
This is basically enhanced sensitivity of the bodies alarm system, the chronic pain these people experience is “normal pain” but the process behind it is altered. (1)
Why you shouldn’t put up with pain:
Even in short lived pain, your brain increases the stress hormones in you body, which can make you more irritable, anxious, moody, tired, fatigued, lethargic and lead to muscle tightness (2). Far too many people live with pain. Even that “sore knee when it gets cold”, that “stiff sore neck” or “that dodgy shoulder” can cause far reaching physical and psychological effects. Pain affects the functioning, strength and efficiency of large sections of the body, altering movement patterns, causing compensatory tightness and weakness and can lead to chronic stiffness and even more pain (3).
It’s important to address pain as soon as you recognise that its not just going away in a couple of days. The evidence supporting early treatment in almost any painful injury or condition is well documented. It means that the pain doesn’t have so much of a chance to compensate for the “alarm signal” and stress out other tissues and neural pathways (4).
Here at Back to Health Physiotherapy we really can help almost any condition or injury that causes you pain.
Don’t put up with pain, come in and see us so we can get you pain free and back to health.