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What is Pain?

Pain is your body's way of telling you that something is damaged, injured or wrong, and that it needs to be treated to prevent it from getting worse.

Take it like a warning sign or alarm (or spider-sense for the marvel fans), sent by your body to your brain. There is an electric pathway in your spinal cord and peripheral nerves that allows nerve messages to be sent between brain and other parts of your body to each other.

Your brain will interpret signals (including pain signals) that travels along these pathways.

I shared in another pain article that your body has these nociceptive receptors that's located everywhere in your skin, muscles, bones, joints, and even your organs, and their #1 job is to pickup real and potential pain signals.

Whenever these nociceptors feel something painful or dangerous, such as

  1. heat
  2. electrical
  3. mechanical
  4. chemical
  5. other painful

stimuli, they send a super-quick impulse message to your brain which then sends back a quick reflex response to remove your limb from the thing that's causing pain.

This is a normal response...what happens is unusual response:

chronic pain

Chronic or persistent pain is pain that carries on for longer than 12 weeks DESPITE medication or treatment.

The majority of people and patients recover normally and go back to normal living after an injury or operation, but in a small number of patients, the pain cycles continue even long after the injury or operation.

We're not talking about patients who have say a physical injury that recurs, but herein, is specific to pain experience even after the original injury has long healed.

This isn't the patient's fault, often it's linked to the nerves and emotional aspect of the injury and recovery which can be more complex or take longer time to recover.

To me, pain is pain, and pain needs to be respected and treated, so that patient can participate and go back to normal living without pain (or with as minimum pain as possible).

Transmission of Pain and Nerve Categorisation

The transmission of pain involves three types of nerves: nerves can be categorised based on their diameter (thickness) and the presence of a myelin sheath or not.

  1. A-beta fibers: These fibers have a large diameter and are myelinated.
  2. A-delta fibers: These fibers have a small diameter and are also myelinated.
  3. C-fibers: These have small diameters, are non-myelinated (which slows their conduction rate), and are generally involved in transmitting dull, aching sensations.

What speeds up impulse / electrical impulses are the width (the thicker the faster) and the presence of myelin sheath.

Tip of the day: One method of pain relief is by providing your nervous system with high-speed “good feelings,” such as rubbing the injured area. 

If you're experiencing pain for more than 7 days, please book an appointment to consult our experienced physiotherapists or hand therapist and dont take a wait and see approach. 

Most mild issues will resolve within 7 days, and anything that lasts more than that typically will not recover with rest or waiting, in fact they may get worse with time. The earlier it's diagnosed accurately and treated properly, the faster and fuller the recovery.