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Take control of your pain!
Pain hurts. Physio can help. We'll show you how.
We will comprehensively assess the source of your pain for a quick and accurate diagnosis!
Treatment will begin from the first session, with a focus on hand-on techniques and exercises specifically targeted to your pain!
Your individual response to treatment will be carefully considered and adapted to!
Pain is an alarm meant to protect you!
What’s the purpose of an alarm? In its most basic sense, an alarm prompts you to do something. When your alarm goes off in the morning it’s a prompt to wake up. If your car alarm goes off it’s a prompt to get there quick and see what’s going on! Pain is simply an alarm or “danger sensor” - our body’s special way of telling us to take some action. There are no such things as pain sensors, pain pathways or pain endings – only “danger sensors”. Read more...
"...our pain experience is based on a prediction of danger. It doesn’t tell us how much danger we’re actually in."
Pain is poorly related to damage
Why can stubbing your toe hurt more than a broken bone that’s comfortably sitting in a cast? Because pain is poorly related to actual tissue damage. Have you ever noticed a bruise on your arm yet, have no idea how it occurred? Similarly, lots of people show wear and tear on imaging (MRIs, ultrasound etc.), yet experience no pain. Zero. Zilch. Nada. Pain is weird and and is often not experienced in proportion to tissue damage. Read more...
"Over 1 in 3 20 year-olds with zero pain have disc degeneration in their spine (Brinjikji, 2015)."
Pain is about sensitivity, not merely damage
A remarkable example of pain being altered by the immediate context can be seen with soldiers in the heat of battle who are shot but don’t feel pain until much later on and out of the dangerous environment. Moreover, an example of pain relying on larger contextual factors is seen when poor sleep, fear, anxiety, work-related pressures and relational stress work to sensitise you and augment your pain experience for the worse. Read more...
"...other factors besides damage or physical load can influence your pain."
Lots of factors can influence your pain
Pain depends on the balance of danger and safety that you believe you’re in. When information convinces you that you need protection, your danger alarm system will go off and you’ll experience pain. Damage may be a factor, but it certainly is not the only factor. And you can have ongoing pain without tissue damage - both pain and damage can exist without the other. Read more...
"When we think about pain, we tend to think about damage. However, we’ve seen it’s not that simple..."
Our alarm system can become too sensitive
Our bodies are great at reacting to a stimulus and adapting. An example of a good adaptation is building muscle as a result of strength training. However, sometimes our bodies react too much. Think about allergic reactions. Originally, a small reaction is a good thing – it protects us. However, some people’s immune response is over the top and they react too much. Another common over-reaction is seen when you burn your hand. Initially, your body produces extra skin to repair and protect the burn site, but some people produce too much and form a keloid scar. Read more...
"With persistent pain, your body can become "too good" at sensing danger."
Pain is normal (although it can act bizarrely)
Have you ever quickly turned your neck and got some sharp pain? Or maybe you’ve bent down to pick something up and got pain in your lower back? Turns out these things are actually pretty normal. Do you have occasional urges to “crack” your neck or some other joint? Have you had bizarre pain in your back that lasted a few minutes to a couple days? Well, that’s normal too. Do you feel sore and tight in your traps (where your head meets your neck)? Yep, you guessed, that’s normal as well - everyone’s tender there. And the vast majority of the time nothing to be concerned about. It’s not weird to have pain sometimes. We should not expect to be pain free 100% of the time. An entirely pain-free life is not a reasonable expectation. Read more...
"What can become a problem is how you react to your pain."
You're stronger than you think
Your body is strong and capable of handling huge amounts of loading, bending, stretching, pulling and twisting. Most physical things you do are well below the threshold at which tissue damage happens! Read more...
"The average spine can withstand more than 900kgs of pressure!"
"You went through adaptations to get in pain and you can go through adaptations to get out of pain!"
You can actually respond positively to stress
I know it seems strange that we as physiotherapists want to start stressing your body, I get it. But stressing the body is very important for recovery and wellbeing! Your body isn’t like a building that slowly wears down over time as it’s exposed to stress. In fact, it’s the opposite! Your body can respond positively to stress and become stronger and adapt. Read more...
"As you’re exposed to different types of stress (physical, vocational, emotional, relational etc.), you can slowly adapt to them."
You deserve a tailored approach
Altered function is poorly related to pain. I know this may sound strange, but pretty much every assumed “dysfunction” (poor posture, tightness, weakness, degeneration, stiffness, muscle knots, scar tissue, muscle imbalances etc.) can exist in people without pain. Weird right? Now, this doesn’t mean that they’re irrelevant or that they shouldn’t be addressed. Sometimes they should! But many of the biomedical explanations for pain often fall well short of explaining your symptoms and have limited scientific research behind them. Read more...
"...many of the things that help one person can have nothing to do with the pain of another person."
You don't need to be "fixed" before you start to "do"
If you’ve had pain for a while, you’ve probably been told a lot of different things by friends and therapists about why you’re hurting and how to fix it. Their advice will all vary depending on their experience and their journey. Sometimes their advice will conflict and this can be frustrating. However, one thing we commonly hear from patients of Sycamore Health is that they’re damaged goods - things are out of place, fragile, misaligned and broken! These patients have been told that they need to be “fixed” before they can start “doing” again. Read more...
"...the "doing" is the 'fixing'!"