Are you sick and tired of living with pain? Or worse still, are frustrated by not knowing where your pain is coming from, or why it isn’t getting any better?
The answer to both questions are quite simple – but not always easy to accept.
If you have chronic, long standing pain – either something has been missed diagnostically, or your body’s nervous system is sensitised.
Pain in your body is caused by a decision made by your brain that a body part, or the whole body, is in danger. Pain can be physical, or emotional as well. Usually this system of protection works very well – for example if you put your hand near a fire, it feels heat and your brain tells your arm to draw away; or if you sprain an ankle the pain makes you aware that you should probably rest the ankle for a couple of days so that the ligaments can begin to heal.
However, sometimes your brain makes a decision on your behalf to give you a pain response in the absence of any actual danger, or tissue damage. This is because the process of generating a pain signal requires signals to pass through various parts of your nervous system, very quickly, and based on any number of physical, chemical, psychological, contextual or environmental factors, the pain generating section of your brain makes the pain happen. This happens without you even being aware of it at times as well, such is the power of your brain to look after you. Sometimes, there could be something within your body which can be directly treated (an active trigger point, stiff joint or sensitive nerve) that has been sending a signal to your brain for years but hasn’t been properly dealt with.
The brain’s decision to elicit a pain response is made not just based on what is happening to you physically; but also what is happening around you, your psychological state, your mood, your history, your upbringing and pretty much anything else you can think of. This is why a football player can play 70 minutes with a broken jaw (the pain signal dampens) or why a low speed car accident could cause years of agony (the pain signal is too strong when it needn’t be).
The part of your brain that decides if pain happens is like a magistrate in a criminal trial, and it happens independently of your conscious thought. Imagine that if the verdict is guilty, there is pain, and your sentence is a loss of movement, function and comfort – and if it is not guilty, there is no pain and you can get on with your day.
In a criminal trial, sometimes in order to find someone guilty or not guilty, it takes strong evidence from only one witness in order to get a guilty verdict. For you, this could mean an active trigger point, sensitive nerve, or stiff joint. However, it could be weaker evidence from a lot of different sources (such as prolonged postures, belief systems, mental health, culture, upbringing, life experience etc) that could also deliver a guilty verdict – or in your case pain. The key is that everyone’s bodies, brains and circumstances are different, and therefore pain needs to be dealt with in a manner specifically designed for you.
While pain is usually elicited by something that is very obvious to diagnose, it may not be the whole story. At the HPM Centre we are able to assess your pain and find out if anything has been previously missed by other clinicians, and also tailor a treatment plan based on your needs, not somebody else’s.
Contact us to find out more.