PAIN….. How it Influences our Movement, Functional Capacity and our Overall Health
Pain – Such a Provoking Word…
Pain is ultimately a lifesaver. It is a way of our brain informing our body to be aware of what is happening, how to be safe in what we are doing, how to move safely and give us awareness of what we can or cannot do.
Pain also acts as a way of protecting our tissues, whether it be muscle, joint, or ligament OR if there is a more serious pathology with our internal organs our body will produce pain or make us feel unwell.
Pain can be acute or chronic in nature, and present consciously in so many ways. It can be sharp, dull, achy, heavy, burning, tingling, shooting, numbing, cramping or however else you can describe it – it’s yours.
Everyone’s pain in subjective – and only you can describe it and feel it. And sometimes other people don’t know and can’t tell that you are in pain if you have had it for a long time and are good at covering it up.
As Osteopaths who see people in pain on a daily basis, we can help you manage and understand your pain – and improve how you are feeling overall. We do this by “hands on” physical treatment, delivering pain education, muscle rehabilitation, and more, depending on what you as our patient require. We aim to reengage your system to train and activate appropriate learning systems to adapt to, work with and support the muscle and joint system to create optimal movements patterns, strength, mobility, function and no pain if possible.
Factors that may influence your current state of pain and functional ability may include:
- Lifestyle factors such as:
- Habits such as:
- Diet and Food Choices,
- Sleep routine and Sleep Hygiene
- Pathology – underlying conditions that may affect your ability to perform tasks, feel pain and type of rehabilitation prescribed. These may include conditions such as
- Disc bulges,
- Repetitive Strain Injury,
- Postural Complaints
- Headaches and Migraines
- Past medical history and previous injury –
- What happened?
- What muscle and joints were affected, and
- How has it affected the body with movement, and mind set with pain avoidance, fear and poor neural patterns
- Movement Capacity and Ability
- This may be governed by the underlying condition or disease, mental state and actual ability of the body!
- Level of activity – both what able to do and to perform
- This should be graded according to the age of the body, the underlying condition, and appropriate rehabilitation that may be required
- Sensitivity to pain
- This is related to both in the brain and the body and how this influences movements, ability to perform daily tasks, exercise and rehabilitation and mental health
So… one fantastic way to help decrease pain and its effect on movement, overall health and well being is to do exercise. Not only is it important for cardiac health, brain health and many other scientifically proven effects of the body, exercise helps pain –
How does exercise work for pain you may ask? Well…..
- Alters the perception of pain, and belief of pain though movement, muscle engagement, activity, movement and strength,
- Helps changes local physiology, hence improves circulation, lymphatic drainage, positive nervous system firing, muscle strength and joint mobility,
- Helps change neural feedback to and away from brain – positive neural pathways established for retraining the brain for safe movements
- Is a good distraction from pain by activating muscles/joints, using neural pathways to build awareness, strength, stability and sense of achievement!!
By having a predicted expectation of exercise and ways to increase/improve exercise – which is great when it is linked with goal settings for showing noticeable improvements, gives positive reinforcement and encouragement to continue movement, strength, functional activity and therefore improve overall mental and physical health and well being.
At St Kilda Osteopathy we are highly experienced in looking after our patients who come to us in pain – in all different forms and presentations. We will work with you on creating the best possible strategy to help you and your condition and its associated pain – from hands on treatment to appropriate exercise and rehabilitation tailored to you, your condition and ability.
The Explain Pain Handbook – Lorimar Moseley and David Buttler
Individual Differences in Pain: Understanding the Mosaic that Makes Pain Personal https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5350021/pdf/nihms-830843.pdf?fbclid=IwAR3gzRlzaXg0TRUc6pvb07dN-DWt_tqnpA7ZGC36cb_D8oKhkylicdh8Zeg
Written by Dr Gaby Nowak (Osteopath), Level 2 APMA Pilates Instructor