At Spinal Symmetry you may have overheard a practitioner saying to someone else or have a practitioner say to you that pain is only a message from your body saying that there may be a problem. It doesn’t tell us the specific tissue that is under threat or where the source of the issue is coming from.
Essentially, pain is a very subjective experience for the patient and an unreliable source for the practitioner, although it is vital for human survival as a protective mechanism.
In this article we will explain 3 different types of pain, how they occur, their characteristics and the importance of recognizing their differences.
Acute pain or pain that lasts less than 3 months is a response produced by the body as a result to changes in a tissue. This could be inflammatory changes, pinching, catching or changes in the chemical balances in the area. These changes are picked up by nociceptors otherwise known as pain receptors which then send the message to the brain for interpretation. The brain combines the incoming message with past experiences to interpret the message as black or white – threat or no threat to the body. It will then appropriately return the message as pain or no pain.
As practitioners, we aim to remove the painful stimulus at the root cause of the problem. At Spinal Symmetry, this involves removing the pressure on the joint which induces a tissue healing scenario.
Although pain is experienced in one location reported by the patient, it is commonly found that the root cause of that issue is not actually in the painful tissue. This is why Spinal Symmetry practitioners may not focus their treatment on the site of the pain.
Chronic pain is a scenario where pain lasts longer than 3 months, but the pain is now heavily influence by emotions, past experiences and learnt behaviors that commonly amplify the painful experience. The tissue under threat becomes sensitized as does the nervous system. Our central nervous system and pituitary gland produces our very own natural pain killers called endogenous opioids. Normally these opioids can vary from 19-500 times stronger than morphine depending on which type you are referring to. In a scenario of chronic pain, the threshold of effectiveness of these natural pain killers is raised and thus less effective.
As a result of this, the pain message from the brain is not regulated as effectively and the pain message is given off more readily in response situations that would not normally cause pain. On top of this; thoughts, emotions, fear avoidance behaviors, deconditioning and stress can also complicate the pain situation.
The third type of pain is associated with Spinal Symmetry healing pain. As our practitioners work to balance the hips and restore the body’s designed center of gravity, the pelvis begins to stabilize. Throughout treatment and as the patient engages in the dynamic therapy exercise, the body begins to unwind it’s previous injuries. Like an onion, our body has layers of trauma according to the time line of our life.
The body is then able to work in synergy as the practitioners act to remove the primary drivers for compensation in the body. One step at a time, as your nervous system and our practitioners work to clear restrictions and old traumas that surface, you may experience times of healing pain.
Healing can be a painful mechanism although it has slightly different characteristics to acute or chronic pain as explained above. Healing pain may fluctuate in intensity, change location or be hard to localize due to the changes that are occurring. You may also experience good days followed by bad days. Generally your perception of the bad days will override the perception that good days are occurring.
This is why it is important for our practitioners to educate our patients on what they could possibly expect when undertaking dynamic therapy. Healing pain is essentially a positive occurrenceas it means the patient is moving forward with their treatment, things are changing and the body is healing in a true sense.
Therefore, this type of pain should not be taken as a negative experience. It may be beneficial to try to detach themselves from their experience and remove the emotional bias associated with it.
It is our role as practitioners to educate our patients that pain does not necessarily equate to tissue damage or threat.
Our aim as practitioners at Spinal Symmetry is to create change within the body – whether it is relief or change in character, location or severity of pain. Our structural aim is to create a level and stable pelvic, shoulder, occipital plane and spinal column.
It is more complex than we could ever understand as each body is individual. Practitioners and patients must be open to any possibility and ensure the emotional pain perception of the patient does not dictate the treatment.
If you ever have any questions or concerns regarding the pain you are experiencing, please feel free to ask any of our practitioners.