Understanding Pain – Part 1 – Why Pain Exists

I have often heard patients say “God, I wish there was no such thing as pain”. While as joyous and as beautiful as this may seem to someone who is living with pain on a regular basis, in reality, this would not be a good thing. 

as much as you may not like it, pain is an essential part of life. It protects you and alerts you to danger, often before you do serious injury to yourself. It makes you move differently, think differently and behave differently – all of which are vital to allow your body to heal after an injury.

There is in fact a condition where people cannot feel pain called congenital insensitivity to pain. These people are born with this condition and face many challenges which result in them doing harm to themselves because they can’t feel heat, cuts, bruises, broken bones or  sharp items. Their life expectancy unfortunately is reduced as a result. 

But Why Have I Pain When I Didn’t Even Hurt Myself

Often, pain can act strangely. You can experience it when there is absolutely no injury or damage done. It can sometimes take a while to kick in – such as when a child falls and doesn’t react until they see the concerned look on their parents face or sometimes it can fail to kick in – such as with life threatening cancer that can go undetected. 

You may have heard the expression that the pain is all in your head or you may have been told this by a healthcare professional before but it is not the most helpful of sayings when you are in a lot of pain.

“So what do I do, just pretend it’s not there and it will go away?” but ..Nope, unfortunately it is not as easy as that, but there is some truth to the statement so let me explain further.

Your Pain Is Real

First of all, let me be clear, the pain you or anyone who is living with pain are experiencing,  is real. It is a real sensation, a real experience, it affects your movement, it causes you to behave differently, HOWEVER it is influenced by many things and ultimately caused by your brain. Without your brain, you would have no pain, but you would not have a lot of other things either, so to get rid of your brain is the solution to ending pain.

Part of my job is to break down this very complicated topic of pain, into easy to understand bite sized chunks so that you can understand it better. If you understand it better you will realise how some of the things you are doing may may be adding to your excessive pain or indeed be causing your pain to persist for longer than it should.

If you are aware of these things, you can put actions into place to change them which can change your experience at the other end……… which is the ultimate goal.

To be continued……..

So, let’s take a small break and let that information digest because it can be heavy going. All I want to take away from todays blog is that pain does not always equate to tissue damage. You can have pain and not neccessarily have done any more damage to your body, which is often the case with chronic pain suffers.

Pain levels can get worse depending on where you are, who are you are with, what you believe is going on, what you have been told is going on, your emotions, your thoughts and your stress levels. All of these things can influence your pain which is good because they all be helped with the right tools and the right strategy.

In part 2 I will talk more about how these external factors can influence your pain and what can be done to help manage them.

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