Pain can really get you down!
Understanding pain and what its means can help put you back in control
Most tissues in the body have sensors to detect danger.
This information is sent to the brain and it is processed to produce our very own pain experience.
When the living tissue (bones, muscles, ligament tissue etc) within our body are exposed to extreme heat, chemical changes or mechanical stress, such as hitting your thumb with a hammer, sensors within the tissues generate a pain impulse which travels to our brain.
It is then the brains job to make sense of this impulse. With injuries to our skin the brain can work out where the impulse came from but when an impulse comes from tissues below the skin the brain has difficulty in determining where the problem is. The brain, for example, can generate an experience of pain in the left hand when the person is actually having heart problems!
The intensity of the experience can also cause confusion. It is therefore important to remember a pain experience is generated when there is danger, not just when there is tissue damage. Consequently a tissue based diagnosis is always an appropriate start. If you have pain then you should see your Doctor or book an appointment with one of the QuickPhys clinicians.
With Chronic pain (pain that has persisted for several weeks) the brain can produce an experience that is amplified, widespread and severely damaging to a person's quality of life.The brains ability to process information becomes affected by stress, anxiety, memories, expectations and medication. Typically the longer the pain experience persists the worse the pain experience gets. This is because the brain actual develops more nerve pathways to super charge the experience. No one wants it, but the first stage to recovery is to recognise if you have got it !
Overall it is essential for best health that an experience of pain is understood. It is also essential to formulate an appropriate tissue based diagnosis so that you know exactly what your dealing with. Typically the complete pain experience is constructed from both a tissue warning and a pain in the brain process!
If you are not sure whats going on, then please book an appointment with a QuickPhys clinician.
A pain in the brain.
Chronic Pain a growing global problem.
The following video lecture is an excellent example of how modern medicine now sees pain as a disease in its own right.
The key message is that pain does not have to have a strong association with significant tissue damage. Therefore just because you have a strong experience of pain don't assume you must have visible tissue damage. If your Doctor or QuickPhys clinician informs you that there is no tissue damage, it does not mean there is no problem. It is likely your problem is related to pain disease. Please watch this video and recognise and respect pain as being a problem in its own right.
If you want a more scientific review of chronic pain and how it affects the function of the brain then please study this video below. It refers to pain as a degenerative condition; please don't however think that this means it is totally irreversible. With new and appropriate conditioning chronic pain can be modified; a quality of life can be restored but it requires a shift in thought, not necessarily a change in muscle and bone tissue.
Pain as a consequence of tissue danger.
All is not always as it seems.
An experience of pain is often how an individual is made aware they have a problem. There are four main ways in which a pain message is initiated.
Mechanical force: such as compression or stretchThermal changes: like extreme heat and coldChemical changes: acidity and toxins as delivered by a Bee sting or in response to a decreased blood supply (hypoxia).
Inflammation: an immune response to tissue irritation / damage
In most Musculoskeletal (MSK) problems pain is initiated due to mechanical and inflammatory mechanisms.
A worn or damaged knee for example can place abnormal mechanical stress on the joint and in so doing initiate a pain response.
The abnormal mechanical stress also causes tissue irritation / damage which in turn initiates an inflammatory process.
The person can experience pain from inflammation even when at rest and pain when walking or climbing stairs due to abnormal mechanical stress.
To gain a successful outcome QuickPhys can help reduce the inflammation by performing Ultrasound Guided Injections. Click here to find out more about Injection Therapy
Inflammation is a common cause of symptoms and often referred to when a diagnosis is made. Please see the table below.
This principle applies to tissue related problems
Arthritis = 'arthrosis' (joint) and 'itis' (inflammation)
Tendonitis = 'tendon' (muscle connection to bone) and 'itis' (inflammation)
Bursitis = 'bursa' (fluid filled sack) and 'itis' (inflammation)
Myositis = 'myosin' (muscle tissue) and 'itis' (inflammation)
Neuritis = 'neural' (nerve tissue) and 'itis' (inflammation)