Surprising Facts about Your Pain & Your First Step to Recovery!
Updated: Feb 22
Feeling pain is a far more complex process than purely the result of a tissue in the body being strained, torn or broken.
Any pain you feel is always real - but what may surprise you, all pain is a product of the brain; and just because a body part is damaged does not mean you will feel pain, nor does having pain mean you have a body part that is damaged. Curious to read more?
Your brain can produce pain without actual injury – this is illustrated by the true story of the construction worker who ended up writhing in agony in hospital A&E having stepped on a nail which was stuck right through his boot. When the medics carefully removed his boot, the nail was discovered to have missed his foot all together and passed without even a graze between two toes!
Alternatively, despite significant injury, you may not feel pain – this is illustrated by another true story of the workman with a nail passing deep into his hand, with blood oozing from the wound; but this time, the workman had no pain.
If you give yourself some time and space to think about it, you may remember a similar phenomenon having happened in your own life - or to family or friends. My husband trod on a nail & knew nothing about it until he felt his shoe was wet (with the blood)!
Scientists over the last 20 years or so, using new technologies and research, now explain pain as an alarm system that warns you of actual or perceived danger to the body. If your fast processing nervous system and subconscious concludes a body part may be in danger, whether it is or it is not, then you will feel pain.
It is so important to understand your brain gathers data not just from your body - but also from your subconscious thoughts, emotions, beliefs, knowledge and past experiences - in order to make its lightning-fast evaluation of whether you will feel pain or not.
When your brain believes you are in danger, or indeed you just have a fearful thought - even when you’re lying safe and warm in your bed at night - it stimulates your natural “fight & flight” response: your heart beats faster, your muscles tense, your breathing pattern changes and a build-up of intense energy gives strength to the body it didn’t have before. When primed, this lightning-fast process may also produce or aggravate symptoms such as pain.
We now also know that when emotions such as fear, anxiety, anger, sadness are not fully felt and expressed in the moment they occur, they leave behind a remnant of emotional memory & energy in the mind & body. This unexpressed emotion and unreleased tension accumulate - until your system overloads to manifest as, eg persisting anxiety, fatigue, skin problems, illness or pain.
So whether you feel pain or not, the severity of the pain you feel and the muscle tension and spasm you develop following even a gentle strain to a body part is hugely influenced by your past responses to life events, your understanding of pain and your beliefs & emotions in the moment.
Begin your Journey to Healing and Relieving your Pain
Understanding this knowledge can begin to reassure you about your pain, perhaps explain why it is so intense despite the fact you do not remember having an injury as such. You may have woken with the pain or undertaken a task you have done hundreds of times before without a problem. That's because it's not the physical state of your tissues that's creating your pain - it's your brain's evaluation of your whole mindbody system.
In these scenarios it is likely that your thoughts, beliefs and emotions have made up the majority of data on which your brain has made its evaluation & produced your level of pain. Think back to the onset of your symptoms and ask yourself, “What else was going on in my life at the time? What changes and upheavals have been happening?”
Discovering a link between the onset of pain - & a stressful life event or an emotional trigger - can begin to relieve concern and start to settle pain. There are then a multitude of simple, daily strategies that you can learn and practise that will help you continue your journey to relief and recovery from your symptoms. These are the basis of the SIRPA approach, the cutting-edge concept of my Freedom From Pain programme.
Perhaps have a look through my resources page & begin some of your own investigations into understanding this work. Or you could download my free guide to start your first action steps towards recovery. But if you already know you need more in-depth help of a 1:1 coaching programme, please consider booking a Discovery Session with me now.
As a gentle caveat, any new pain that is not getting better within a few weeks should also be checked by your doctor to ensure there is no underlying, relevant physical cause, such as a fracture or infection.