A Quick Review from last time
In my last article I started to try and answer the question “What is causing my pain?”.
If you missed it click here on this link.
We looked at how our view of pain has changed over the years as we learn more about what influences our perception of pain.
I then gave a definition for pain.
“An unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage, or described in terms of such damage”.
From this we realised that pain isn’t always abut tissue damage and that other factors can influence pain such as the psychological, the affect of our mind and the social, looking at our friends and family support networks. We call this method of looking at pain the bio-psycho-social model.
So the bottom line is pain is not only about damage.
Pain is about a distressing experience related to actual or perceived tissue damage which is influenced by sensory, emotional, cognitive and social components.
So lets look at what can causes pain in certain cases, nociception.
Our bodies contain special nerve endings called nociceptors that are located throughout our body. They respond to damaging or potentially damaging stimuli such as physical, chemical or temperature stressors by sending a “potential danger” messages to the spinal cord via nerves.
As this potential danger signal is a warning message it is better that it is more sensitive to stressor changes so we can be alerted at the earliest possible time. That said we must remember that no damage may have taken place yet but this is a warning that if we carry on with the action it may develop into damage. However in most cases if we heed the warning the damage can be averted.
These messages can then either be amplified or diminished before travelling up the spinal cord to the brain. The spinal cord can act as a receptionist fielding calls from the outside world to a boss. Some calls that are deemed of less importance can be screened out whereas the more important ones sent through with more urgency.
Once the message reaches the brain it is also processed by the subconscious mind as to how much of a threat this is. Then dependant on the level assigned to it the level of pain will be experienced.
However the body is still only warning us of a potential threat it is not giving us any idea to the magnitude of the threat only that there is one.
The subconscious mind bases it’s threat level on past experience as well as the level of stress being currently experienced. We all know that if we’ve had a sleepless night, or overdone it at work or pushed too hard with sport our pain sensitivity seems to become more pronounced.
Hopefully this will begin to give you an understanding how what is happening from the cause of pain and how it is processed.
In the next articleI will talk more about how these signals can be misinterpreted and give us misleading information and what we can do about misinformation.
Take your first step towards enjoying your life more
From the team at Well Adjusted Health
Providing gentle chiropractic in West Sussex
including Ashington, Storrington, Steyning, Southwater, Horsham, Shoreham, Worthing and Billingshurst