Pain is something which all of us experience in one form or the other. It could’ve been from falling over when we were kids, or injuring ourselves while trying to be the fastest, strongest or toughest. Never the less, we’ve all experienced pain at one stage of our lives and are likely to experience it in the future.

But ever thought about why we feel pain? Why our bodies can cope with it? Or why some people can handle more pain than others? Well here are some answers!

Pain first and foremost is feedback from your brain to your body. It’s there to communicate one important message to us. That message is, “I can’t cope with that, it’s going to cause damage”. Your body outputs pain much like how we see a check engine light while driving the car. It’s a warning signal rather than a problem.

The common misconception is that when we get injured we feel pain. That is not entirely true.

We feel pain when the body decides enough is enough. The reality is that we are constantly damaging ourselves on a daily basis and are constantly repairing and regenerating. An example of this would be bone. Our bones are constantly getting broken down and repairing. This is called bone remodelling. Stress is necessary to make sure our bones remodel and ensure that they are strong and healthy. We have cells which are constantly dying and are being replenished. The truth is that we are constantly repairing right until the day we die. But why then, do we not feel pain?

Injury and damage needs to reach a certain threshold for your body to decide that it needs to give you a warning sign. The easiest way to demonstrate it is this.

While you are reading this, grab you skin and give yourself a light pinch. Does it cause pain? In most cases no. It’ll feel a little uncomfortable but most of us can deal with it. Now give yourself a good pinch.. what do you feel? PAIN!! That’s how pain is triggered. It’s a response to overwhelming injury that your body gives you a signal to self-preserve.

The brain controls the output of pain signals. Your brain decides the type and amount of pain to trigger. If your brain see’s that it can deal with that amount of tissue damage and is able to heal it without slowing you down or stopping you, then it will go about repairing things and not slow you down.

However when there is overwhelm of damage, the brain will send out pain to give you feedback to slow down. It does this as your body is undergoing too much re-injury, while repairing, with your normal activity. It’s much like trying to plaster a hole in the wall while there’s an earthquake happening. It’s a futile exercise and much more effective to wait till the wall stops moving to repair the hole.

 

Now damage can happens in one of 2 ways.

  1. Slow and compounding. Like chipping away at a wall till it finally falls over.
  2. Fast and large. A lot of damage at once, like being hit by a car.

Our modern lifestyles lend itself to the 1st type. We generally tend to break our bodies down over a long period of time before we see symptoms of pain. Physical, chemical or even emotional stressors are the vehicle for this progressive breakdown we see around us. This is why many people generally report a painful episode from doing seemingly something trivial like tying their shoes, picking up the washing off the floor, sleeping or even washing their hair in the shower. The event wasn’t the cause but rather the back story leading up to it.

 

How do you avoid pain?

 

Prevention is better than cure! The time to be looking after yourself is when you’re cruising and there aren’t obvious pain and symptoms.

We don’t live life in a bubble or a vacuum, so life will always be life. We always break down and at some times faster than others. The key is to stay on top of things and make sure you feeding your body with the building blocks it needs to thrive.

You can prevent your body from becoming increasingly susceptible to compounding lifestyle by ensuring you stay active, eat the right things, keep good work/life balance and above all ensuring your nervous system is working at its peak to help your body heal at its fastest rate. After all it’s easier for your body to bounce back from small micro-traumas than a compounding acute injury.

 

Why wait for pain to arrive before you do something about your health? Do something NOW to avoid the time, money and energy spent trying to fix things later.

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