What is pain?

Pain is an unpleasant sensation caused by the brain. It is experienced in a variety of ways such as an achy, dull or sharp sensation to name but a few. If you have been experiencing pain for a few weeks or months, this is called ‘acute‘ pain which is usually caused by tissue damage. This stops once the tissues have repaired. Pain lasting three months or more is called ‘chronic‘ pain.

‘Acute’ pain is usually due to tissue injury and tissue injury comes from tissues failing to adapt to the stress placed on them. ‘Chronic’ pain is pain that lasts after the tissues have healed. The reason why it lasts is due to an over-sensitisation of the brain. This explains why pain cannot be seen on scans or other tests and it is the reason that when many doctors encounter chronic pain they cannot find the reason and suggest it is all in your head! (While this is partly true as the brain is in the head). This should be phrased better so people can really understand what is happening.

‘Chronic’ pain is a more complex problem that is only cured by ‘active‘ care. ‘Active’ care is when you take control over the situation and follow healthy habits. ‘Chronic’ pain develops from everything that effects the nervous system. This includes social, cultural, biological, psychological and environmental stresses. The image below will give you an idea of what common healing times are. Please bear in mind that pain in the healing time period is normal and is something you do not need to worry over.

Healing times.
Exercise muscle sorenessA few days.
Muscle strainGrade 10-2 weeks.
Grade 24 days-3 months.
Grade 33 weeks-6 months.
Ligament strain.Grade 1.0-3 days.
Grade 2.3 weeks-6 months.
Grade 3.5 weeks-1 year.
Ligament bone insertion/graft.12 months+
Tendon.Tendinitis.3-7 weeks.
Tendinosis.3-6 months
Laceration.5 weeks-6 months.
Bone.5 weeks-3 months.
Articular Cartilage repair.2 months-2 years.
ligament graft2 months-2 years.
Meniscus/labrum3-12 months.

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