Reduce Back Pain: 5 quick and easy exercises to reduce back pain

Understanding Pain – An Introduction

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Chris Dounis

Chris is an accredited exercise physiologist with over 15 years professional experience working with a wide range of clients.
Learn more about Chris here.

Pain is one of the universal human experiences. Everyone, regardless of race, culture, age, gender, or economic status, will experience pain at some point in their life. As humans, our propensity for coming up with ways to inflict pain upon ourselves is unbridled. But despite this, pain remains one of the most complex and widely misunderstood concepts within the human experience. It is only relatively recently, when compared to the entirety of human history, that we have even begun to understand the what and the why of pain, and this understanding largely remains confined to the world of science and academia.

For most people, their understanding of what pain is, is that it hurts. Pain is the feeling when you step on a stray piece of lego left out by a child, or the feeling when you cut your finger chopping up onions for a spaghetti Bolognese, the recipe for which is a closely guarded family secret. In both of these cases, the cause of pain is easily identifiable and will, more than likely subside. The experience is short lived, the cause is easily identified, and perhaps within lies a lesson to be learnt so that hopefully the experience won’t be repeated: Remain vigilant when crossing the potential minefield that is the living room floor, or turn to Professor YouTube to touch up on your onion dicing technique.

But what if your pain is the kind that is always there, a pain that never seems to go away. The kind of pain that prevents you from participating in the annual family backyard cricket game, the kind of pain that prevents you from wrangling your reluctant child into the bath, night after night. These experiences aren’t short lived and the cause of pain not quite so easily identifiable; the pain might subside, but you know it will be back. The lessons learnt from this kind of experience are different, the minefield is no longer the living room but everyday life; every movement, carefully curated so as not to aggravate your pain.

It is this second type of pain, known as chronic pain, that is so poorly understood by the general public, and also to an extent by the old school medical establishment. This lack of understanding of chronic pain is to the detriment of those who live with it. Over the years, we have come to understand just how important it is that those living with chronic pain understand the basics of pain neuroscience. There is evidence to show that the use of pain neuroscience education (PNE), in addition to usual care, can improve disability and pain[1]. Advances in pain neuroscience have the potential to be incredibly beneficial to those living with chronic pain, however in order for it to be of any benefit, that knowledge needs to be accessible to all people, which it currently isn’t.

The following is a series that will attempt to distil current scientific literature and provide an easy to understand, evidence-based perspective on what we understand about pain neuroscience, and most importantly, how the applications of this understanding can help you reduce your pain. If you have any questions, concerns, or feel that we may be able to help you with your pain, please don’t hesitate to get in contact through Instagram, Facebook, or contact us directly.

References

[1] Wood & Hendrick (2019) Eur J Pain. 23(2)

Disclaimer

This series does not serve as specific medical advice, and should be viewed as educational ONLY. Chronic pain is an individual and complex experience, and as such, any treatment needs to be tailored to the individual. Always seek advice from a relevant medical professional before undertaking any treatment or exercise program.

 

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