Understanding pain is a challenge for clinicians worldwide as each individual will experience pain in their own unique way. Physiotherpists learn how the pain pathways work from the soft tissues e.g. muscles, tendons, joints, cartilage, nerve, ligament etc. to the brain and how pain is interpreted. Pain is not always felt locally to the damaged structure and can refer to other part of the body.
When you injure yourself there are receptors within the tissues called nocioceptors that send messages of unpleasant sensations to your brain via the spinal cord. Those sensations are only interpreted as pain when they reach the brain and that is when they have other factors influencing the sensations felt.
The words you use to describe pain to your clinician help them to work out the tissues potentially involved and the severity of the problem.
The nerve supply of the structure will give them an indication of where the patient could feel the pain. The amount and level of pain will help us determine the amount of damage and the appropriate treatment for your problem.
Knowing why you are in pain and understanding what is going on within your body is a reassuring thing to know. Physiotherapists are trained and are experts in assessing your pain and explaining the cause of your problem and what the best treatment options are for you.
The length of time you have had the pain, the words you use to describe it, where you feel the pain and the intensity will all be asked about during the consultation. This will be done prior to a physical examination of the body part affected.
Specialist Musculoskeletal Physiotherapists here at Jill Kerr Physiotherapy have all completed further studies on pain and how to interpret each patients’ own individual pain.
Our new Textbook ‘ A Practical Approach to Musculoskeletal Medicine ' 4th Edition: Atkins, Kerr , Goodlad :Elsevier 2015, has an up to date evidence based section on pain suitable for helping clinicians understand pain.