So many of us put up with muscular and skeletal pain, writing it off as getting older or the odd tweak – what is a signifier that the pain is more serious and needs to be examined?
Pain is the body’s defence messenger, it is a feedback system that lets us know if something could be going wrong. On a simple level, our bodies generate a pain impulse when either chemical changes make an area of tissue more toxic, secondly when we expose our bodies to extreme temperatures or finally when there are mechanical forces that have caused tissue irritation and potential damage.
The words used to describe a pain experience are not diagnostic. The actions or events that promote a pain response are.
Therefore, if a person has a pain experience but remains functional, then it is likely that they have irritated tissues but no major damage. If this irritation continues then the individual needs assessment to minimise the risk of eventually being damaged.
If there is a pain experience and a loss of function, then severe irritation is taking place or there is already damage. In this situation, a person definitively requires examination.
When the pain experience is debilitating, another factor that can determine the need for examination is the causative factors and knowledge of the problem. People do not seek medical advice if they hit their thumb with a hammer. It hurts but it will resolve.
If however, the origin of pain is not fully understood then a person can become concerned, furthermore they will not know how best to manage the problem.
At Clinic 360, we would always advise a person experiencing pain to have clear understanding of what is wrong and what they can do about it. There is no magical ‘cure’. There is knowledge and best management.
If pain is considered a messenger on our health status, don’t shoot the messenger until you understand what it is trying to say!