1. Pain is real.
Pain is a caused distressing experience that can be associated with actual tissue damage or with sensory, emotional, cognitive, or social changes. No matter the cause, it is real and it is something that CAN be addressed with PT.
2. Pain depends on context and cues.
Pain is produced by the brain. Anything that gives your brain evidence that a body part or tissue is in danger will switch on your brain's sensitivity to pain. These cues can be tissue damage or it can be influenced by other factors such as fear of pain, stress, etc.
3. Pain is about protecting your body.
Anything that makes your body feel like it needs protection can predispose you to pain. Anything that makes you feel safe and secure can decrease pain levels.
4. Pain does not always equal tissue damage.
Pain does not always mean there is damage to tissues. For example, a sprained ankle can stop hurting long before the tissues are fully healed. On the contrary, the body can experience pain without any damage to tissues at all.
5. Our bodies adapt to pain.
The longer you have pain, the longer your nervous system and immune system learn to make pain. Your nervous system will learn that this is your new baseline and your pain will persist. However, since our bodies are so adaptable, we can re-train the nervous system to control pain levels.
6. Movement can HELP pain.
Movement can suppress pain levels, can help re-train your nervous system, can provide the body with protection, and can produce endorphins.
7. Understanding pain and re-training your body can take time.
There is no quick fix to chronic pain. It is a journey that can take time. With the right physical therapist, education, exercises, and movement, you CAN recover and manage your pain!
Maggie Nguyen PT, DPT