LEARNING ABOUT PAIN IS ONE OF THE FIRST STEPS TO FREEDOM!
YOUR BODY IS STRONG!
The average spine is stable and capable of handling huge amounts of bending and stress.
Most physical things we do are far below the maximal threshold of where tissue gets injured.
Many people in pain will have been told they are weak, tight, frail or unstable. For the vast majority of people this is unlikely to be the direct cause of the pain they feel.
Keep moving! Stay active while recovering from an injury
Researchers have learned that understanding pain and learning about your injury can help you take the right steps to gain a complete recovery. Some of your therapist recommendations might seem counter-intuitive and not make sense unless you fully understand what pain is.
For example, many people might think that pain means you need to stop doing everything in your life and if you keep persisting you could harm yourself. There are rare cases where this is true but in the majority of cases rest and avoidance is the opposite of what is needed. When you have pain or injury it might actually be best to get moving again, start exercising or resume your hobbies.
Pain does not = damage
We have sensors throughout our body that give us a lot of information. Like most
information we get, some of it is useful but we always must make a decision about what that information means. In our body we have nociceptors. Nociceptors respond to physical, chemical or temperature stressors. And sometimes nociception can lead to pain... which is a good thing. When you lean on your elbow for a prolonged period your nociceptors will yell at your brain to get you to move. You might move around a little and there will be no more yelling. There wasn’t any damage it’s just that the nociceptors got irritated. Nociception is a good thing; however it must be interpreted. It does not necessarily lead to pain. Like many alarm systems it is better for the nociceptors to be more sensitive than less sensitive.
Nociceptors send their potential warning signals to the spinal cord and the spinal cord then processes this signal. The spinal cord can act like an amplifier where it turns the signal up and then sends it on to the brain or the signal can be turned down and less signal gets sent to the brain. The brain ultimately decides what to do with nociception. However, like most decisions it doesn’t arrive at this decision based on one factor. This is why pain is so much more than nociception.
Our bodies become better at producing pain the longer we live with it...
When pain persists, it is almost as if we get “better” at producing pain. We can become more sensitive and activities, movements or environments that we could previously tolerate are now triggers for pain. Initially, the pain might be helpful, now, with ongoing pain it no longer serves its original purpose and contributes to ongoing chronic pain states.
The best way to overcome this “over-sensitive” nervous system is to create new memories and associations with previously painful experiences. A large part of treatment is to start exposing yourself to the things that are slightly painful through gentle exercises or manual therapy.
Our Team can get you back on track!
We recognize that the human body is strong and adaptable. For the most part in your rehab there is no goal that is off limits. Where we are cautious, is in working out how much you do, and how you approach your activities again. For example, if you want to start running, hiking or or playing with your grandchildren again, then you and your therapist can find a way to achieve this.
Exercise, strength training and stretching can all you make you feel better. They
have general health benefits that can help desensitize your nervous system. Exercise is an analgesic. It helps with pain. Solely doing exercise to help with pain may however, not be enough. It is one part of the solution to a larger puzzle. Understanding your condition will help your recovery and manual therapy may be of benefit as well.
Our therapists are trained to put together the pieces of your puzzle to get you back to doing what you love.
The information on this page is a summary of key information presented by Greg Lehman a well respected physiotherapist and chiropractor specialising in pain management. Have a look at his page for some more in depth information http://www.greglehman.ca/