Pain Analogy 1: Legos #@&%ing Hurt
Think about a time when you stepped on a lego. It probably felt like the sharp of a metal nail went clean through your foot or like a knife piercing it. But that Lego probably didn’t puncture the skin or even bruise it. It was just your body sending a pain signal to alert you to a potential threat. There was no tissue damage, it was just a warning.
Now usually with a random lego warning, the pain stops when the threat is removed. (For me, as soon as I reach down and throw the lego across the room while shouting “@#&%” and other, er, creative words at it).
Well, sometimes our body’s warning system can perceive a threat to still be there after the original signal is gone.
One theory for this is that when our body is in protection mode, it continues to send pain signals. In these cases, we can do some assessments (with me in my studio when appropriate or referred out to others on your health care team) to rule out the possibility of actual tissue damage. Then, we can work together to send signals of safety to the body through movement, massage, mindfulness and more.
This doesn't mean it's all in our head. Our body IS sending these signals. The pain is real.
In other words, our bodies are sometimes pretty darn amazing at protecting us. Like an overprotective parent, sometimes our body might go a little overboard or be a little overly cautious. In those cases, we can explore different ways or give your body time to learn new patterns.
But just like an overly protective parent can’t change overnight, sometimes our body’s threat signal can’t just be turned on and off like a switch. In those cases, we can work together to be open and honest with where we are at and in a safe and caring way, learn and work towards getting to a place of moving freely... without pain or with less pain, improving quality of life.
Now we do have to address the other side of the coin… What about times when we have an injury or condition that should produce pain but our pain is dialed down or we have no pain at all? That is just as valid and maybe even more dangerous. I'll cover that in an upcoming blog post, Pain Analogy #2, so look for that in the coming weeks!
Do you have a story about a time something hurt really bad but there was no injury? Or a time you didn't feel a thing even though you were hurt? Share your experiences in the chat or message me. These stories are always so interesting and really give us a good feel for how complicated pain really is.