Ouch that really hurts! Why am I in this pain?

We are all familiar with pain. You no doubt have experienced it at some point in your life. After spending hours working on the computer, you may have felt a nagging dull ache across the top of your shoulders into your neck. Suppose you have been less fortunate, and the pain you have experienced is a debilitating sharp pain. Many people experience intense sciatica in the lower back. That has stopped you from being able to carry out your daily activities. You are not alone. Evidence suggests that 80% of the adult population will have experienced back pain at least once in their lifetime.

Why do you feel pain?
Pain is more than a symptom. Pain is the body’s way of stopping us from doing activities that could cause more injury. When you overuse or overload a body region, you will experience pain. For instance, if you use an incorrect lifting technique. You are placing an increased load onto your spine. This load triggers the sensors in your back to signal your brain to protect yourself. Your brain recognises the risk and causes the huge muscles in your lower back to go into spasms. I am holding you still to prevent you from continuing to move in a way that risks further injury. This is a great protective reaction. However, as time goes by, this creates a problem. Because unless you stay still forever, you will need to move again.

We experience different types of pain at varying intensity levels to change our behaviour.


Why am I in this Pain scale from very mild to unimaginable
Pain scale from very mild to unimaginable

Do you know what different types of pain mean?
Pain can vary in both intensity and type. Above we explored the intensity of pain. Now let’s look at the kind of pain you experience. Pain can be sharp, dull, achy, throbbing, stabbing or burning. Pain may be constant or intermittent. You may also experience pins and needles with your pain.
The different characteristics of pain give us an idea of the structure you may have injured. For instance, dull and ache-like pain is usually associated with muscle fatigue. At the same time, a catchy sensation results from inflammation around a joint. A burning pain that radiates into the limbs is from nerve irritation or damage. The inflammation around the nerve causes pain to travel along the length of the nerve.
Pain intensity may change over time. When you feel pain and fail to respond to the original injury, your brain will increase the pain you feel. This is a protective response from your brain to change your actions or activities. We often see patients with what started as minor elbow or shoulder pain. Progress to the loss of ability to lift a cup of coffee or raise their arms overhead. By failing to seek treatment for your pain early. Your brain says: “I have asked you to stop that action with a little pain and muscle tightness. Now, I need to increase the pain and muscle spasms to protect you.” This sends a clear message: stop, heal, and change your actions.
So what should you do to reduce pain and get to a point where you can live the life you desire? A life where you can carry out the activities you love?
Like how we experience pain when the body is injured, you experience a decrease in pain when the body is healing. You heal an injury by improving the range of motion available to you. This is achieved through massage, traction and adjustments. After improving movement, you improve postural control or stability. This is through the use of functional exercises designed to increase stability. The increase in movement and control causes positive information to be relayed to your brain. The result is experiencing a decrease in pain. At this point, it is important to mention that because we do not feel pain does not mean that our body has been fixed. Read our post on the sensorimotor system to see how an injury could affect your brain. Making you more susceptible to injury.

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Five Dock Osteopathic and Chiropractic male chiropractor wearing a light blue shirt performing a stretch on the neck of a young female patient. The doctors right hand is placed on the head of the patient and the left hand on the shoulder of the female patient

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