By Adam Brown
In recent years the science behind the pain experience has grown tremendously and is proving to be quite fascinating. Here are a few things that you may not have known about the human pain experience.
1) There is no such thing as a pain signal – our nerves fire to tell our brains that they have been stimulated and our brain synthesizes this information to decide if pain should be the response.
2) Pain is heavily influenced by stress, fear and anxiety – our brain is more likely to interpret external stimuli as painful when we are stressed or anxious so managing these emotions is important.
3) Some people’s brains begin to overreact – The purpose of pain is to tell us that something is threatening our health and to motivate us to change behavior, but often we feel pain with no real threat present. This is especially true in people who have had long-standing or chronic pain that seems to spread from one area of the body to another. In this case the persons interpretation of stimuli can be the primary problem and the original injury may not be a significant factor anymore.
The bottom line is that your brain controls your pain so it is important that you and your physiotherapist recognize this and address any thoughts, feelings or beliefs that are making your pain worse!