True or False: The intensity of pain matches the severity of an injury?
There are two types of pain- acute pain and chronic pain.
Acute pain is a sudden onset of tissue damage due to a definable injury. Bodily tissue can take anywhere from up to 3-6months to heal and any pain experienced after this point is known as ‘chronic pain’, whereby the tissue has healed but the pain persists. New methods of management show that the psychosocial component of pain is just as important as the physical. Pain is an output from the brain. When the tissue is exposed to a potentially threatening stimulus, the brain evaluates information coming in to decide if the tissue is in danger. It then subconsciously, through the central nervous system, act as a protective mechanism producing a pain output to refrain the body from doing anything which it falsely believes could further harm the tissue. Threatening stimulus can include anything from emotional stressors, physical stressors, sensation stressors, temperature stressors etc.
For example, if we got a group of people and placed a temperature probe on their forearm which was set at one cool temperature and then showed them two lights, a blue light and a red light. Without telling them what temperature the probe is, it is highly likely that they will experience pain on the point of contact when the red light turns on compared to the blue light. The human body naturally sees the colour red as a danger signal due to past experiences, such as red at the traffic light meaning “STOP” and red on a tap meaning hot water. Relating this back to lower back pain. If someone has experienced an acute back injury in the past when doing a certain movement, the brain will store that movement in its memory bank as a potentially threatening movement. This will result in a change of behaviour, increase in tissue hyperirritability and increase of pain sensitisation. As time goes on the central nervous system sees movement as potentially harmful and subconsciously brings about pain to guard the human body.