Most people plod through life with unrelenting symptoms that now seem normal. In fact, according to the National Institute of Health in 2015, 25.3 million adult Americans suffered from daily pain.
At the Athletic Training Institute, we see people come through our door every day with symptoms due to nociceptive, neuropathic or psychogenic pain. Commonly, people try to immediately get rid of the symptoms either through masking it with pain killers, heat, cold, massage, and other methodologies like these. Going after the symptom is a common response, like grabbing your toe when you stub your pinky toe on a bar stool or massaging a sore neck. Perhaps these actions help, but have you ever sat back and thought why these symptoms occur in the first place? What if your body may be telling you something? If this is the case, and your body is telling you something, maybe you should listen, rather than cover it.
Pain is perception and is a process through which the nervous system receives information from the senses and analyses it to trigger certain reactions in the body (symptoms). Typical symptoms include tightness, swelling, inflammation, hyper sensitive areas, burning, tingling, aching, sharp, throbbing, shooting pain, and others like these.
Where does this pain come from? For starters there is nociceptive pain. When there is an external or internal stimulus, information is relayed to the brain where it is processed. When the stimulation of nociceptors due to stretching, cutting, pinching, intense warmth on skin, or toxic chemicals, pain is experienced.
There is also neuropathic pain which includes burning, tingling, or shooting sensations. Neuropathic pain is typically caused by physical damage to nerves, inhibition of the nervous system to lessen pain or accelerated signaling between neurons.
Most pain is physical; however, pain can also be due to hypervigilance, anticipation of a threat, emotional reactions, or avoidant behavior. This is called psychogenic pain.
All types of pain can be experienced acutely or chronically. Acute pain is short-term discomfort that warns the body of current damage it may be experiencing. Chronic symptoms can last months or even years. When symptoms have been chronic there is a host of other issues an individual may experience, but an example of chronic pain would be osteoarthritis.
The typical symptoms you may experience serve a very important purpose. In fact, it is a protective signal advising you to stop what you are doing, whether it is deliberate or accidental. Before you go masking the symptoms, it is critical to figure out why the symptoms are there in the first place. Is it because of an acute injury? Continuous inflammation? Injured tissue? We must first identify the origin of the symptom to then correct and progress toward a life of thriving not just surviving. At the Athletic Training Institute we utilize Muscle Activation Techniques to determine the reason you are experiencing your symptoms.
Symptoms: What do they mean?