Pain is a part of life. If one is active, they have experienced, or are currently experiencing, pain. Science analyzes pain to be an experience that results from a conglomerate of physical, psychological, emotional, and social inputs. It can be an unpleasant emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage or described in terms of such damage (Int’l Assoc. for Study of Pain, 2014). Pain can result from muscle tightness and can also be influenced by visual/spatial cues. Treatments can range from natural compounds, chiropractic, improving flexibility to using modified and varied movement patterns.
Acute pain alerts us to take action in response to a noxious stimulus (mechanical, thermal, chemical) upon the body. A definition from the North American Nursing Diagnosis Association describes it as an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience arising from actual or potential tissue damage, with sudden or slow onset of intensity from mild to severe and a duration of less than 6 months. A mild burn from hot grease or a strained muscle; either would elicit a specific degree of acute pain.
Experts agree that chronic pain persists beyond the time in which tissue would normally heal (~12 weeks; Merskey/Bogdu 1994) – or recurs for 6 months or more (Falla et al, 2014). Chronic pain may result from an initial injury, a back sprain, perhaps, or from an illness. Often, there is no clear cause. Other health problems, (i. e. fatigue, sleep disturbance, decreased appetite, mood changes) often accompany chronic pain. It can limit a person’s movements, causing reduced flexibility, strength, and stamina. These limitations can lead to disability and despair. Chronic pain is a world wide problem for older adults: 52.8% report experiencing bothersome pain.
Pain can be a caused by musculo-skeletal imbalances resulting in of muscular tightness. The lower back or the hips is common area. Restricted movement of the sacrum can cause the muscles that surround the region to tighten even more in an effort to brace the sacrum against that same immobility. This situation can usually be addressed through good chiropractic treatment a consistent flexibility regimen coupled with varied movement of the hips.
Visual and Tactile inputs have been shown to influence how pain is mentally perceived and somatically expressed. The body’s pain receptor mechanisms function within a kinesthetic framework to cue the body on it’s spatial location. One’s surroundings can have a major impact on the experiencing of pain.
Twenty-four chronic neck pain sufferers were assessed for left and right cervical rotation with the use of a virtual reality headset. Bogus visual feedback cues altered the degree of rotation as related to the actual pain. The degree to which the subjects rotated with no pain increased by 6%, whereas the point to which they could actually rotate decreased by 7%, due to bogus cueing. Melzack (2001)
There are two natural substances that show promise for treating chronic pain. These two substances, which can mitigate the challenges inherent with pharmaceutical use, are 1) PEA (Palmatoyethanol-amide) – a fatty acid produced by the body that decreases inflammation, negates pain signal at the site of inflammation 2) NONKIOL – Magnolia Tree Extract modulates brains perception of pain through the CNS. In head to head studies, these compounds have been shown to be comparable to N.S.A.I.D.’s, opioids, and Ibuprofen.
Pain is a factor in movement inhibition. Somatic changes can present the individual with a perception that certain movements should be restricted, minimized or, all together, avoided. Movement variability is key to healthy motion and dissipates mechanical stress to soft tissue and joint structures. Modify exercises or even substitute a move until the specific exercise or similar movements can be gradually and safely approached. Broaden your awareness of the dynamics of pain and have professional support system in place to help in reaching pain free movement goals.
Pain is a perceived sensation of discomfort. There is acute pain which can come on suddenly and can be experienced for up to six months. There is chronic pain which may be experienced much longer than six months and may have either a gradual or a sudden onset. Pain can be caused by musculo-skeletal imbalances. Studies show that visual/spatial cues can impact how one experiences pain. Primary to the use of natural treatments for pain remediation, one should 1) be able to modify movements for intended exercises and 2) have access to a professional support network.