If you’ve been alive for any amount of time (and if you’re reading this, you have been), you’ve felt physical pain at some point in your life. The sensations we know as pain are the results of nerves sending signals to our brains in response to various painful stimuli. Pain perception, which is also referred to as nociception, utilizes neural pathways specifically designed for pain (nociceptors) that spring into action as a reaction to the pain-inducing stimulus.
According to Craig Freudenrich, Ph.D., and contributor to HowStuffWorks, pain is the most prevalent reason people seek attention from physicians and others in the medical establishment. While the circumstances in which people visit doctors to quash their suffering vary from person to person, there are certain notions about the proper handling and thresholds of pain floating freely throughout our society that lack any basis in reality. For this reason, below is a list of five myths and misconceptions about pain, its treatment and the neurological components involved.
It’s in Your Head If Doctors Can’t Diagnose You
Just because a doctor can’t pinpoint a diagnosis doesn’t mean you aren’t feeling pain or that the pain is all in your head. There are many instances in which it can be hard to pinpoint the source of pain, even with the help of modern medical technology. It should be noted that it’s nearly impossible to definitively know all of the stimuli that can trigger the process of nociception.
The human body is a complex, interconnected collection of organs and systems that allow you to function over the course of your lifetime. When one part of your body malfunctions or is afflicted with a disease or pain, the rest of your body makes efforts to compensate for the parts experiencing problems. Additionally, pain in one area is often times indicative of problems in another. For example, people who do not have enough arch support for their feet often experience lower back problems due to their spines being out of the ideal alignment.
This is all to say that if you’re experiencing pain and the underlying cause is not completely obvious, it’s likely that your doctor hasn’t yet found the solution and that there’s more investigative work to be done, as opposed to the cause being nonexistent and all a figment of your imagination.
Pain Is Part of Aging, and Minor Pains Should Be Ignored
The point of nociception and pain in general is to alert your brain that something is wrong. There would be no point in receiving those signals from your nerves if you weren’t supposed to address the painful stimulus. It’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor about any pain you are experiencing because he or she can suggest treatments, prescription or otherwise, to help you manage it, especially if it’s a chronic condition. Even if it’s a minor pain you feel you can live with, there could be an ailment greater than what meets your eye or nociceptor.
Speaking of chronic pain, according to WebMD, older people are more likely to be dishonest about any pain they are experiencing than their younger counterparts. Not addressing one’s pain can be a detriment to one’s quality of life, and given the bounty of treatment methods available for pain, there is most likely a solution available to fit one’s personal needs. Aging doesn’t have to be painful if you’re honest about your pain.
Work Through the Pain to Strengthen Muscles
The old adage is “no pain, no gain,” right? Like any other motivational phrase that gets casually thrown around, context is important. For example, it’s natural to feel some pain and soreness in the days following an intense workout. In that situation, moving around and stretching can feel good and reduce stiffness you may be experiencing. However, it might not be the best thing to attempt your personal squat record on consecutive days because your muscles do, in fact, require rest.
On the other hand, if you’re rehabbing from a debilitating back injury, working your muscles to the point of pain can be detrimental to your recovery. It’s a fine line to walk between progress and pain, but knowing your personal limits can make all the difference in such a rehabilitation situation. Rest and recovery is important for sustaining healthy muscles.
Pain Relievers Will Solve the Problem
While it’s crucial to adhere to your doctor’s instructions when it comes to the use of painkillers, it’s also important to point out that painkillers alone will not solve the causes of pain. They simply make the pain more tolerable. To truly regain one’s health, the underlying cause of the symptoms must be addressed and treated, as opposed to simply treating the symptoms.
Pain relieving medications can be part of the treatment for many ailments, used in conjunction with forms of therapy such as clinical massage therapy and physical therapy. Individuals who practice clinical massage and physical therapy are instrumental to the health, rehabilitation and wellbeing of the patients whose pain they help relieve.
Commence Your Clinical Massage Therapy Career at Soma
If you live in the Chicagoland area and are looking to start a career in clinical massage therapy, the Soma Institute might be the perfect fit for you.
At the Soma Institute, students learn clinical massage therapy from experienced faculty who are well versed in the practice. The Soma Institute is dedicated to providing its students with the personal attention they need to master the art of clinical massage therapy.
The Soma Institute offers its Clinical Massage Therapy Diploma Program in a couple of different scheduling options to best accommodate prospective students. By attending classes two days per week, students can complete the program in 11 months. The alternative is attending classes on one weeknight and Saturday each week, which takes 15 months to complete.
The Soma Institute is proud to offer unique internship options to its students. Students have the opportunity to intern at the school’s on-campus clinic, gaining meaningful experience under the watch of experienced supervisors. The other type of internship the Soma Institute offers allows students to perform sports massage on NCAA Division I athletes at Loyola University Chicago.
Financial aid is available for those who are eligible. The Soma Institute also offers free tutoring services to its students.
Learn more about the Soma Institute and its programs or schedule a campus tour by visiting soma.edu today.