My Pain Won't Go Away | Total Performance Physical Therapy

My Pain Won’t Go Away

June 1, 2020

The #1 reason that patients seek help from a Physical Therapist is because they are
in pain. In the ideal world, pain is a good thing. It tells our bodies that something
dangerous has occurred, and immediately draws our attention to that area.
Unfortunately though, sometimes the pain that we feel in a certain part of our body
does not mean that something dangerous is occurring. Prolonged pain often leads to
increased fear and anxiety, increased healthcare costs, and longer time away from
work and other life activities. Understanding why you have pain can help to create
the best plan to fix it!

Types of Pain
The International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) defines pain as “an
unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential
tissue damage.” When we break this definition down, we can see that there are 2
types of pain: 1 in which true tissue damage has occurred, and 1 in which there may
OR may not be true damage. The first scenario encompasses injuries from the
moment they happen until ~3 months. This is called “acute pain” and is often
associated with neck or back injuries, broken bones, or torn ligaments. Signals travel
from the injured body part to our brains and tell us there has been damage. Our
brain processes this information and then sends a signal back out to our body telling
it to begin feeling pain. Typically when these things occur, we are often encouraged
to seek proper medical attention, keep moving, and will soon resume normal life
and work activity. When pain persists longer than 3 months, it is commonly called
“chronic pain” and can happen for many different reasons. Chronic pain can occur
when the damage to a certain body part is healed, but our brain continues to send
out pain signals to the specific or surrounding area.