In Defense of Pain
If you are dealing with an injury or a chronic condition right now, you probably think that it is absolutely asinine to speak of pain in a positive way. Pain is your enemy, your nemesis, it is the bane of your existence and you would go to great lengths to rid yourself of it for good. But evidently the 16th president himself knew a little something about Pain Science when he said that "The best way to destroy your enemy is to make him your friend." And to make something your friend you need to try to understand it. The most important weapon to combat painful conditions is understanding pain to decrease its threat and power over you.
"An unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage, or described in terms of such damage."
Think About These Two Principles
"Pain is an Alarm" Think of pain as a smoke alarm. It is loud, annoying, and impossible to ignore.
It's sole purpose is to get your attention. The sound of a smoke alarm itself does not tell you if there is a blazing fire in the house or if you just slightly over-charred your dinner and in some cases it can just be too much steam from your hot shower. Pain works like a super-sophisticated smoke alarm that takes into account many factors in order to decide when to sound and when not to sound. Therefore, you may experience the same amount of pain when you have actual significant trauma or injury as you may feel if your body senses that something may have the potential to harm you.
"Pain is always an output of your brain not an input from your body to your brain." How often have you felt a sudden shooting pain going through your back as you attempt to lift a grocery bag from the trunk of your car? It is in fact the end result of a very complicated series of events and processes that happen in just a few milliseconds when your brain decides that what you are about to do is dangerous enough to sound the alarm!
So, I encourage you to try to get to know pain a little better and hopefully be on better terms with it!
Eugene Katsnelson PT, DPT
Doctor of Physical Therapy