Pain is a normal part of life. But no matter your age, aches and pains can take the joy out of life’s activities. However, whether it’s sore knees after taking a jog, or a stiff back while getting out of bed, determining the cause of the pain can be frustrating, if not impossible. Extensive research has shown that even tests such as X-rays and MRIs are not very good at determining the cause of your symptoms since many findings they are able to identify have been shown to be common in a high percentage of people without pain! Pain is the body’s response to a wide variety of stimuli and it is often a multi-factorial experience involving not only physical aspects, but also environmental, social, and emotional.
When it comes to diagnosing your pain, it is helpful to categorize it into two different categories: acute and chronic. Acute pain is often characterized by its short duration and sudden onset. Typically considered to be any pain that lasts less than three months, it can be the result of an injury or other traumatic event. Acute pain will also generally resolve itself as the tissues begin to heal over time.
Chronic pain, on the other hand, can persist for many months and even years. With chronic pain, unlike acute pain, there is no longer a specific tissue injury or tissue damage. Pain itself is has become the problem and it is usually due to a sensitive nervous system, an overly protective response by your brain and body to a perceived threat. Much like the “check-engine” light that can come up on your car dashboard even when the mechanic has assured you that everything checks out fine, this type of pain has no specific cause that needs “fixing.” Research has shown that a comprehensive treatment approach focusing on the whole person, including education, exercise, and manual therapy to help reduce threat and sensitivity is the most effective when tailored to each individual.
Extreme pain can leave you feeling like things will never get better. Fortunately, there is hope. Visit Virginia Center for Spine and Sports Therapy for a consultation today, and begin your journey on the road to recovery.