Often, we treat pain without bothering with its definition. The majority of all pain patients recover quickly from their injuries; in fact, more than 90% will be fully functional within eight weeks simply because of the body’s ability to heal itself, regardless of treatment. However, it is the remaining people, who after months of persistent pain, become frustrated when medical examination does not yield a diagnosis and their doctors prescribe medications and therapies without producing lasting relief. The persistent physical discomfort of chronic pain can bring an individual to their emotional limit.
Pain is an entity that is commonly misunderstood because medical diagnosis traditionally presumes that pain is only a signal of tissue injury conveyed to the central nervous system. However, there are actually three distinct categories of pain: Nociception, Inflammation, and Neuropathy.
- Nociception: The immediate response conveyed to the brain, signalling tissue injury (noxious input). An example is the response from a slap to the skin.
- Inflammation: A local response to cellular injury resulting in redness, swelling, heat, pain and sometimes loss of function, and that serves as a mechanism initiating the elimination of noxious agents and facilitating the healing process.
- Neuropathy or Radiculopathic Pain: Ongoing pain with no obvious signs caused by a malfunction in the peripheral nervous system, leading to super-sensitivity in the pain sensory system.
Neuropathy is a relatively new word, specifically referring to any functional disturbances or pathological changes in the Peripheral Nervous System which creates the greatest number of chronic pain cases.
Neuropathic pain has several indicators:
- There is pain in the absence of ongoing tissue damage.
- There is a delay in the onset of pain after a precipitating injury.
- Mild stimuli are very painful.
- There may be a stabbing component.
- Pronounced summation and after-reaction from stimuli (ie. the pain gets worse with exercise).
A common form of neuropathy is myofascial pain. The clinical features of myofascial pain are as follows:
- Continuous, deep, dull aching pain.
- Tender spots (trigger points) in muscles.
- Relief by deactivating trigger points.
- Restricted range of motion in muscles.
- Muscle twitch with trigger point stimulation
Brickyard Physiotherapy’s clinicians are experienced in the management, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of patients suffering from chronic pain.
For more information contact one of our expert physiotherapists