We often see patients who are looking to reduce their pain and return to normal activities. For that reason, they come to us with a variety of questions about pain:
- “Should I push through pain?”
- “No pain no gain, right?”
- “If it’s causing pain does that mean it is causing damage?”
Pain is a very subjective and personal experience, which means the answer to these questions may not be a simple yes or no. This article will help clear up any confusion by defining pain and identifying factors that can influence pain.
The most current definition of pain is described as “An unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with, or resembling, actual or potential tissue damage”.1 The major parts involved are pain receptors, nerves, and our brain. Damage or potential damage is detected by our body’s receptors, they use nerves to send the pain signal to the brain, finally our brain can process this signal and act accordingly.
Since it is processed at the brain there are different factors that can change the way we feel including: experience with pain, emotional state when pain is experienced, expectations about pain, etc.
On the other hand, even though pain varies from one person to another, some parts of our body might give us different pain sensations than others. Here are a few examples between muscle related pain and nerve related pain.
This is also important to remember during rehab with us! If you are working to gain strength and stability of your lower back, or you are stretching to decrease tone in your hamstrings you may begin to feel aching or stretching type sensations. It does not necessarily mean Hurt = Harm. If the short-term pain allows you to unlock long term gain, it would be worth pursuing but pushing through high levels of sharp pain is rarely the best answer.
Rather than pushing through and telling yourself “No Pain, No Gain” you can:
“Learn to be comfortable with discomfort”.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. To book a physiotherapy appointment call (506) 388-1333 or visit maxmoncton.ca and click on the Book an Appointment button at the top of the page to book online.
Gilles Fougère, PT
1. International Association for the Study of Pain. IASP Terminology. Available from: https://www.iasp-pain.org/Education/Content.aspx?ItemNumber=1698.