Updated: Apr 21
by Samantha Berry
We all experience pain in our lives at some point or other, so you could say that it is quite a normal part of life. That said it can be quite frightening when we have pain especially when we don’t understand the cause of it. It can also be extremely frustrating when it stops us from doing the things we normally enjoy or just from getting a good night’s sleep.
Pain is part of our body’s protective mechanism. It is designed to help keep us safe so, although it may seem strange it can be a good thing. When we injure ourselves, the pain warns you to modify your activity to help the healing process. However, here is the interesting part, it is not simply the case that the bigger or more serious the injury you have, the greater the pain. Pain is far more complex than that and is actually produced by the brain!
When we have an injury, nerves carry information to the brain to make it take notice. The nerves can only tell the brain ‘something has happened’. Your brain has to interpret this information to decide to tell you ‘this hurts!’ It does this by weighing up the electrical signals from the nerves with a mass of information from other parts of your brain. This will be information about your previous experiences of pain, your thoughts and beliefs about pain, your mood and your environment or focus of attention. All this information helps your brain to decide whether it thinks there is a threat to your body and how loudly it needs to shout to tell you. In other words, the greater the threat your brain thinks there is the louder it shouts and so you feel more pain!
So…if you feel worried about what the pain is about, you have become low in mood because you can’t sleep or do the things that you normally enjoy or you have seen a family member suffer for a long time with a similar problem you will probably be feeling greater levels of pain.
Simply finding out the cause of your pain and knowing what you can do about can actually start to reduce your levels of pain. Have you ever noticed that sometimes when you make an appointment to see the doctor about a pain, it suddenly lessens or disappears? At Omnia we can determine the cause of your pain and help you to understand what it is and what can be done about it. This will help to reduce the threat your brain thinks there is and so it will shout less loudly to you and you may start to feel less pain before you have even done any physiotherapy.
Watch this great video by Lorimer Moseley an Australian physio who has a great and entertaining way of explaining how all pain is produced by the brain.