Pain is not always simple. It is easy to understand if we roll an ankle or break a bone what is causing the pain. However, pain is not always a cause and effect event. Pain can come from many different sources and may be simultaneously with other sources at the same time (as shown below). Individuals with multiple sources of pain are often dragged through the healthcare system with little results or given complicated diagnoses such as Fibromyalgia or Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome.
All pain can be grouped into two categories or mechanisms: mechanical and central nervous system. Each category can be further divided into three categories.
Mechanical pain is caused by damage to the movement-based tissues of the body: bones, nerves, muscles, ligaments, fascia, cartilage, etc. When we damage these type(s) of tissues there are specific laws that govern recovery. If I break a bone I cannot will my bone not to be broken. The bone must go through certain stages of healing. Each tissue of the body has a different amount of healing time and intervention needed to fully recover. If these stages do not heal correctly or given the appropriate intervention, then we may have further issues in the future.
It’s important to note pain is an expression of the body’s connection to the brain. Central nervous system pains are relatively driven by the brain. When something is wrong the brain detects the issue and creates pain. It’s your brain’s way of letting you know something is not healthy. However, there are many factors that may cause pain within this group.
Example: If one organ of the body does not produce the correct chemicals, then another area of the body might become over-exhausted leading to expression of pain via the brain. Depending on the type of pain within this category, your chiropractor may refer you for further care elsewhere to better help address the main, underlying issue. Treating your primary pain is always our main goal!
A Deeper Understanding
Follow the links to the associated What Causes Body Pain and Central Nervous System Handout to better help teach and guide you in understanding your pain.