Causes of Pain

We have to be clear on this.  Pain does not exist!  It is a perception of a stimulus.  Basically it’s a cruel way for our brain to play tricks on us, mean brain.  Typically the action that causes the pain does exist!  It is important to make the separation that pain sources, the cause of the pain, is really a stimuli that our bond converts into pain.  I hope I have beaten this concept to death, because it is HUGE! And important. With that said, the following are types of stimuli that can cause “pain.”

Causes of pain

Mechanical Pain

This is when something is directly responsible for injury, such as being stepped on, hitting your head on the floor or breaking your nose.  All of these are from a physical trauma that occurred outside of your body.  This type of stimuli makes up about 90% of all injuries seen by all people.  Other types of mechanical pain can be a meniscus tear, avulsion fracture (when a tendon pulls the bone away from the bone it was attached) or soft tissue injury (like a bruise).

Chemical Pain

This is when the chemicals in the body have created some type of injury.  This is typically seen by the release of mast cells.  Here is a fun experiment you can do right now.  Drag your finger nail down your forearm and wait about 15 seconds.  It should be bright red.  This occurs because the histamine in your body is being triggered by mast cells to go to a certain area.  Notice that you were not hurt, no skin was broken.  There was no physical or actually trama to the body.  Your body reacts in anticipation that something might actually be happening.

Psychological pain

Because pain is a symptom of something else happening sometimes the body gets confused and tells you that there is something going wrong, but there really isn’t.  This type of pain is VERY difficult to treat. A lot of times this is associated with other psychological disorders.  It has been shown that stress can cause this type of pain as well.

Because the mechanical stimuli is the most common that is what most therapist focus on.  While there is a lot going on with the psychological aspect of healing the other two can be more easily targeted and sometimes controlled through external means.

Feel free to ask questions anytime.

Fun resource of other things to consider about pain:

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