Pain is very complex with multiple factors influencing our pain experience. It is vital to understand that on-going pain can be due to the way the brain processes information from the body, and not necessarily from damaged tissue. Pain is an experience we have in order to protect ourselves from further injury- in other words our brain decides there is a threat to us and the output the brain sends is pain.
Pain is very complex with multiple factors influencing our pain experience.
An example is if you are a cyclist and often fall and graze your elbow- when you fall and graze your elbow your pain experience is low. You dust yourself off and go on cycling. If someone else has never grazed there elbow and they fall and graze there elbow- there pain experience is fairly high. The physical tissue damage is the same in both instances.. so why is the pain experience different? The answer is your brains perceived THREAT. The cyclists brain knows that the grazed elbow has healed every time in the past- so from past experience the threat was lowered, and with that the pain experience decreased.
Often when you have suffered from ongoing pain your nervous system becomes over sensitive- this means it over reacts to stimuli in the area of your pain.
Pain trained physiotherapists are trained to help you to manage your persistent pain and to educate you about how the nervous system and the brain’s processing of information can contribute to your pain that you are feeling. There are techniques to help down regulate your nervous system. We use mirror therapy, graded motor imagery, specific exercise, TENS machines, and pain neuroscience education to help achieve this goal.
Please watch these videos below. It is such a mind shift to understand how pain really works, even for us health practitioners and these videos will help you understand more.