Integrated approach to Pain?

What is Pain?

Pain is very much a unique and personal experience which can be influenced by your beliefs, past experiences, emotions, culture and many other factors.

It is the brain’s ‘perception of the threat to the body’. Each part of your body contains many sensors that constantly send messages to the brain with information about the current state of your body. The brain evaluates the context of the situation and you will experience pain when your brain decides that the tissues in the body are in danger and you need to do something about it. Therefore, pain is actually a powerful protective mechanism and is essential for our survival.


Pain Exeter

Male Limbic System Brain Anatomy

What’s the difference between acute and chronic pain?

Acute pain is common with tissue damage – it is helpful as it makes us stop and take action by resting, protecting or treating the injured area.

When pain lasts for 3 months or more we refer to it as chronic pain. This has a more complex presentation as most injuries will have healed within 3-6 months yet you may still be experiencing pain.

This means that your pain is less about structural changes (or tissue damage) within the body and more about the sensitivity of the nervous system.

Many factors can put excess load on our nervous system increasing our nervous system sensitivity. This includes our emotional state, stress, anxiety, lack of sleep, depression, financial stresses, our previous experience and beliefs about pain.

How can I reduce my pain?

There are many ways to tackle pain. Often a more positive attitude, not worrying about it can make a huge difference.

Because it is a protective response by the body, it often comes with muscle tension and protective movement behaviours and poor movement patterns, which can contribute further to your pain.

Most people in pain tend to stop moving with the aim to protect the area of concern, but it is usually best to get moving more. This can be a scary prospect and at Estuary Clinic our health professionals can give you treatment and guidance to help you to move in a safe way.

When you see one of our primary clinical team they will perform an assessment to rule out any serious cause, helping you understand the reasons for your symptoms providing you with any treatment and guidance. Because pain is such an individual experience, often just understanding why you are experiencing it can already help to ease your symptoms.

Our Osteopaths and Physiotherapists will use manual techniques to help calm the nervous system, reduce soft tissue tension and provide you with individualised, safe and effective personalised exercises and movement techniques to help get you back to the things you love doing.

Acupuncture has a direct affect on pain processing pathways. It does this by stimulating the release of your body’s natural pain relieving chemicals and by dampening down areas of the brain involved in pain processing.

This can also be achieved through counselling, cognitive behavioural therapy or practising mindfulness to reduce thought patterns exacerbating central pain pathways.

       For further information on this or any of our services or to book an appointment please contact the Estuary Clinic.