Painful wonders……I hear you thinking what is so wonderful about pain? It hurts, it is an inconvenience and nobody enjoys it! Pain is complex, for many of us it can be confronting, causing us to retreat from things that bring joy. What if you were about to learn that pain is not what you think it is. One of our senior Physios, Maddie has recently completed a short course on pain. Here is some of the learning she has had which she has so lovingly named PAINFUL WONDERS.
Pain is normal, individual and ALWAYS real
No matter what your pain results from, it is yours and your experience of pain is ALWAYS real. Many individual factors influence your experience of pain – essentially not one other person can describe the pain you are feeling. It is yours, own it, work with it and recover from it.
We have danger sensors, NOT pain sensors
When you do any task throughout life there is an element of safety vs danger. The same occurs in the body without you even knowing it. Essentially if danger outweighs safety the alarm system lets you know = pain to an extent. So the pain you experience is not due to receptors in the body that are designed to register pain but more due to those sensing danger.
Pain does not correlate to tissue damage
When you feel a high level of pain, our immediate response is to naturally assume that there is alot of damage to the structure that is painful. Physios understand that pain is an unreliable indicator of the extent of tissue damage or even the presence of it. Tissue damage and pain can actually exist without one another! WOW!
Context and pain go hand in hand
This is one of my favourites and one I find many clients are unaware of. We have all had the experience of a memory being triggered by a smell, sight, taste or even hearing something said. These memories can either bring great joy or some sadness.
Well, pain works in the same way. Other influences of pain include touch, your thoughts/beliefs, places you go, emotions, people in your life and other things happening in your body.
In treating clients I have always tried to consider the whole person. It often takes time to get to the deeper contributors of an individuals pain, however with uncovering some deeper layers greater understanding can be achieved leading to optimal planning and recovery.
Education, education, education
Not only does your therapist need to have an understanding of pain and its management (from a physical and emotional level) but so to do you as a client. Once you yourself understand pain, you can begin to make plans, explore movement options, improve nutrition, fitness and sleep and make a return to the life you want to lead.
These are just a few quick tips on looking at pain through a different lens. Keeping checking back for more little gems!!