AUTHOR: Dr. Nate Jones, PT
Although pain is a nearly universally shared experience, it is a highly misunderstood phenomenon. Developing an understanding of pain, where it comes from, and why you’re experiencing it can help improve the quality of life and literally decrease the amount of pain you feel.
The first misunderstanding to clear up is the idea that pain is equivalent to tissue damage or injury. If you break your arm, you don’t feel pain in your arm. Pain, regardless of what kind of pain, is an emotion produced by your brain in response to what it believes to be a threat to the body based on all the information it has access to. Pain is a protective emotional response that evolved to make us deal with whatever our brain perceives the threat to be.
This concept is likely easier to understand if we roll through the basics of how pain is produced. Let’s go back to the broken arm example. Say you fall down a flight of stairs, land on your...