What is Pain?

Put simply, pain is your body’s defense system. Special nerves detect that damage is being done to the body. The nerves send a pain message to your brain, telling it to do something to prevent further damage. The brain receives that message and you will feel pain. The brain then responds, for example, sending a message to the muscles in your hand to move your finger off the hot baking sheet.

Not only does everyone feel pain differently there are different types of pain: acute and chronic.

Acute pain

This type of pain is caused by something specific, such as an injury or illness, and it happens quite suddenly. Some causes of acute pain include:

  • Surgery
  • Cuts
  • Burns
  • Broken bones
  • Labour and delivery

How pain is felt can be described as mild or sharp and last a minute or a few months. Acute pain goes away when the reason for the pain goes away. For example, the pain will disappear once your broken arm or burn is healed.

Chronic pain

  • Headaches and migraines
  • Arthritis (including osteoarthritis and rheumatoid)
  • Nerve damage and pain
  • Some forms of back pain

You may also find yourself in chronic pain even after an acute illness or injury has healed. In these cases, your nerves keep sending pain messages to your brain about damage that no longer exists. Researchers still don’t have a great understanding about this form of chronic pain, which makes rehabilitation for this type of pain hard to manage.

Athletic Therapy and managing pain

While the types of pain are different, they both can be helped with athletic therapy.

Athletic therapy will focus on improving and managing your pain by reducing swelling, improving your range of motion and mobility, strengthening your muscles, increasing your flexibility and working on weaknesses in your body mechanics.

Acute pain from a fracture for example, an Athletic Therapist could work on stretching techniques, strengthening the surrounding muscles for stability, bracing and taping – once your broken bone has healed.

Each athletic therapy rehabilitation program will be different depending on your type of pain, and the underlying cause of the pain.



Information gathered from YourFinishLineAthleticTherapy.ca