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Good pain - bad pain?

Pain and its various influencing factors

Pain is based on the body's natural warning system to alert us to damage that is imminent or damage that has already occurred. The actual sensation of pain that we feel is generated by the central nervous system, as a reaction to tissue stimuli that are sent via the spinal cord to the brain.

Acute pain is therefore a good thing and important to prevent more severe injuries! By means of an adapted reaction based on personal experience and natural protective mechanisms, we take care of the problem area and do not continue as before. Typically, we respond by relieving and sparing the affected area of the body until it is rehabilitated or healed.

In acute specific pain this system works well, but if pain becomes chronic and non-specific, it can behave independently of the cause and loses its warning function and thus its usefulness. Chronic pain often even leads to oversensitivity, a too strong sensation of pain, which no longer fits the physiological cause or trigger.

So it is important to deal with pain consciously. Not to try to numb it with all (pain) means in order to get rid of it, but to listen to the body in case of acute pain and to pay attention to an optimal support of wound healing or to avoid further overload in case of imminent injury. In the case of chronic pain, we need to deal with it consciously by trying to understand the pain behavior (keyword "pain memory") in order to work on it more holistically.

Here is an interesting graphic by Peter O'Sullivan on the subject of how pain occurs, i.e. which factors should be considered in addition to the tissue stimulus, as they have a direct influence on the perception of pain:

Social factors, psychological factors, sleep, environmental factors and general health are important resources for pain management. They help us to alleviate pain suffering even without influencing tissue structures.

Merry Christmas from you physiotherapist Emanuel

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