Almost everyone experiences Pain. Pain is an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience that is felt in the body and that motivates us to do something about it. Pain is also an effective protective device that will alert us to tissue damage or the threat thereof.
Interestingly, the Brain plays a major role in pain and how we perceive it. In fact, if the brain decides there is something more important than protecting a body part that may be damaged or being threatened of damage, then it will make the decision to NOT produce pain. Here lies the key to really understanding pain – if the brain concludes that a body part is in danger and needs protecting and that you need to know about this, then the brain will make that body part hurt. If not, your brain is not likely to inflict painful sensations in that area.
The critical concept is this: Pain is not a measure of tissue damage, but an indicator of the brain’s evaluation of threat to body tissue and the need for action against it.
What is chronic pain?
As pain persists our brain can change and nociception (the detection, transmission and processing of potentially dangerous stimuli) can become more sensitive. The brain cells that produce pain become better at being active if they are constantly stimulated and this can result in spreading of pain, unpredictable pain and painless related to the actual tissue activity. Chronic or persistent pain is a common term of explaining this phenomenon and statistics show that every 1 in 6 New Zealander’s report having experienced chronic pain before in their lives. These statistics are similar to those found internationally and represent that Chronic Pain is a major health issue within NZ.
A great educational video explains pain and what to do about it in less than 5 minutes! Give it a watch, it may just help you to understand what you are experiencing and why.
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