Sunday, March 22, 2009

Pain Part 1 - Understanding it

What is pain?

Pain, in the sense of physical pain, is a typical sensory experience that may be described as the unpleasant awareness of a noxious stimulus or bodily harm. Individuals experience pain by various daily hurts and aches, and sometimes through more serious injuries or illnesses.


Usually pain stops without treatment or responds to simple measures such as resting or taking an analgesic, and it is then called ‘acute’ pain. But it may also become intractable and develop into a condition called chronic pain, in which pain is no longer considered a symptom but an illness by itself.


Pain is part of the body's defense system, triggering a reflex reaction to retract from a painful stimulus, and helps adjust behavior to increase avoidance of that particular harmful situation in the future.


Acute Pain.

Pain due to acute injuries includes things like sprained joints, strained muscles and other minor injuries. Best Protocol for such injury is R.I.C.E

  • Rest - After Injury it's very important to rest in order to protect the injured muscle from further injury.
  • Ice - Using Ice bag immediately after an Injury helps in short term pain relief, applying ice also helps in reducing swelling as it restricts the blood flow. Keep the injured area covered with ice for 15 mins, several times a day.
  • Compression - An easy way to compress an area is by wrapping it in ACE bandage. This is helpful esp. in cases of Sprain
  • Elevation - Elevating an injury reduces swelling. It's most effective when the injured area is raised above the level of the heart.

Heat can be used after 48 hrs of injury when it has moved out of acute face and swelling has stopped.

Acute pain can be easily healed using simple technique; the focus of rest of the discussion would be of chronic pain and how get relief from it.


Chronic Pain.

Chronic pain is defined as pain that persists longer than the temporal course of natural healing, Its like a bad feeling that you get when u wake up in the morning or after 10 minutes on computer your fingers starts to get numb and you get excruciating pain in your wrist. This type of pain is not due to some sudden injury but due to bad posture or immobility over a long time. 


Fixing chronic pain is not easy as in most of the cases the cause of the pain is not located at the source of the pain for example if you have Elbow pain the problem area can be anything from wrist, biceps, triceps or shoulder. And if we are looking into lower back pain then the problem area can be any thing from neck to feet.


Fascia - Fixing the puzzle

Fascia is the soft tissue component of the connective tissue system that permeates the human body. It interpenetrates and surrounds muscles, bones, organs, nerves, blood vessels and other structures. Fascia is an uninterrupted, three-dimensional web of tissue that extends from head to toe, from front to back, from interior to exterior. It is responsible for maintaining structural integrity; for providing support and protection; and acts as a shock absorber.


Fascia functions as the body's first line of defense against pathogenic agents and infections. After injury, it is the fascia that creates an environment for tissue repair.


Here are five lines of Fascia that runs through out the body -

  • Superficial back line- starts at the bottom of your feet and goes up and over the top of your head.
  • Superficial front line- Starts on the top of your feet at the toes and ends behind the ear.
  • Lateral line- Runs along the side of your lower body, hips, and oblique.
  • Spiral line- Wraps from side to side along the body.
  • Deep front line- Runs along the spine and jaw.

Everything is connected through Fascia, so a problem in one area can cause pain/ stiffness in other area. 


In next parts I will try to help you find the source of pain and some easy ways to fix it.

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