No-one wants to suffer pain, in fact many of us fear pain. Pain is defined as an unpleasant subjective experience that is the direct result of illness or injury. The science behind pain has made many advancements over the last twenty to thirty years with research demonstrating the importance, purpose of pain and how it is critical to our survival.

The Number One Purpose Of Pain Is To Protect Our Body

Without pain how would our bodies recognize that we’re in a harmful situation? The major purpose of pain is to warn our body to perform a specific action, usually to protect ourselves from further damage. If you suffer pain it demonstrates that your body is not coping with the demands of its external and/or internal environment. In this sense, the purpose of pain is purely a survival mechanism. Interestingly there are rare conditions in which people cannot sense pain, one of these is Congenital insensitivity to pain (CIP).

There Are Many Sources Of Pain

When a body part sustains an injury, nerve signals are triggered to contact the brain. Interestingly our body does not registered any painful sensations until our brain informs us that the event actually hurts. There are many pain producing structures in the human body including discs, joints, muscles, ligaments, tendons, capsules and much more. This is where Chiropractors can be helpful. The brain considers a variety of factors when deciding how painful a stimulus is and importantly no two brains will interpret events in the same manner. Therefore the total level of pain that a person experiences is not an accurate measure of total damage.

You Don’t Need To Be Physically Harmed To Suffer Pain

If you’re suffering pain this does not necessarily mean you have sustained a traumatic injury. Likewise, if you’re hurt this doesn’t typically mean you will suffer pain. As already highlighted, the major purpose of pain is to facilitate a survival mechanism. In cases where pain makes survival even harder, we shouldn’t be surprised that there is no pain. Conversely, many individuals suffer pain without any painful stimulus and this is now a common clinical presentation in Chiropractic clinics around the world. This condition is known as Allodynia and is characterized by sensitive nervous system function.

Your Body Becomes Accustomed To Pain

Unfortunately our brains are hardwired to tell us that the longer pain is felt, the easier it becomes to sense pain. This is the same process by which we learn to develop habits or motor skills. Using pain as our primary example, the more often we feel a specific pain, the less stimulus is required to trigger the pain in future events.

Other Important Aspects To Discuss

Conditions such as anger, depression and anxiety have been shown to reduce an individuals tolerance to pain. This shows us the importance of addressing a persons psychological wellbeing.