Pain is nearly always caused by a physical or psychological threat hence the body responds almost identically as it does to the' flight of fight' response otherwise known as stress. It increases mental alertness, muscle tone, heart rate, blood pressure, blood sugar, and facilitates clotting factor, shunts blood to the skeletal muscles, dilates the pupils and causes sweating in extreme cases. We are all very aware of how stress is very bad for our health...therefore so is pain!!!!
The 'flight or fight' response can in itself be a threat to an individual if it is triggered to easily, too often, and sustained for too long. So if you have continual chronic or acute pain in your body, then this also becomes a threat to our health.
Here is a little known fact. You can have pain in your body but not be 'consciously' aware of it at all times. Your body has an amazing inbuilt survival mechanism that can allow you to ignore your pain so that you can continue to function. It does this via what is known as Sensory Engrams. So what is an Engram? It is basically a learned behavioural or movement pattern. Something that we can recall and repeat when required. For instance. Signing your name. You can sit at a desk with a pen or you can stand at a blackboard with a piece of chalk. Even though you use larger muscles for the blackboard signature the results look the same. So what if you tried to do a movement, such as a squat or running, but had an injury somewhere along the initial movement pathway. So instead of the necessary activation of required muscles following, for example, a clink, clink, clink, clink, clink - job done effect, you get a clink, clink, clink, clunk - ouch!!! Oops we hit a piece of muscle or fascia that is in pain due to injury. If you continue on and try to ignore this pain your body will do what it does in the signature example and use different muscles to accomplish the same movement.Why? Because your body does not like pain!!! So your pain is hidden as you have a new compensation pattern in use. Your body will then try to tell you the pain is still there by transferring it to the joint above or below, but on the opposite side of the limb/body. It will continue this process until the muscles get more and more painful and you get less and less use of them (this is another form of referred pain). Hence your functionality, strength, flexibility and performance all drop. This hidden pain will come back to bite you at some stage somewhere else. An injury to a toe or old shinsplints can affect knees, hamstrings, hips etc. Fingers and wrists can affect elbows, shoulders, necks etc. These can all turn into Chronic Pain syndromes which can, eventually, drastically affect our health if the original injury was extremely damaging and painful. Car accidents and major falls especially. Another hidden one (and unfortunately for some women not so hidden) is Chronic Pelvic Pain. This a major problem usually treated in teenage years by being put on the contraceptive pill and spending a few days each month with a heat pack trying to stave off headaches, pelvic pain and a multitude of other undiagnosed symptons.
Now recall back to the start of this blog (yes it's a bit long). Remember pain reacts the same as stress in the body. Hence if you have hidden pain, your adrenals are always firing, your cortisol is always high, your thyroid may burn out, you may suffer from adrenal/chronic fatigue, your muscles are always in a toned state. Try holding a book out horizontally with your arm forever. You can't, so your muscles get tired and sore. Oh great more pain. It's a viscious circle. I always say. try to find the cause to your pain. Don't ignore your pain. Let things heal or get them treated asap.You'll do yourself a big favour. Read Job's Body by Deane Juhan if you want even more knowledge on this topic.