What do we know about pain?
Our understanding of pain has changed over the years and how PT addresses it. Pain was once thought to be a sign of injury to the body. Now research has shown that pain could also be a warning signal to us that there may be potential damage and not necessarily a physical injury. Research has also shown no two brains are the same and that each brain reacts to situations differently, which may influence how they feel pain.
Different Mindset about pain
When an injury occurs, the nerves in our body act as an alarm system. The alarm is triggered and sends signals to the brain when we reach a threshold. For example, think about stepping on a nail. The affected body part reaches its alarm threshold and sends a signal to the brain that it may be in danger and to remove your foot from that situation.
Now, after that injury your threshold may not have return to its resting level, but rather higher. Now the nerves in your body are more sensitive and require less action before your pain threshold is reached. Therefore, even if your injury has healed, your nerves may still be on high alert and more sensitive to non-harmful stimuli. The cycle continues when our thoughts about pain bring us concern. Those messages are interpreted by the brain and will make our nervous system hyperaware.
Understanding this concept about how pain works with reassurance that pain does not always mean tissue damage, will ease pain and include other benefits as well. When a patient then has less fear of further damage, they can increase movement to help optimize their function.
Source: Institute for Chronic Pain