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Oakland Spine News

Feeling, Tolerating and Measuring Pain

Pain is both internal and subjective, and its impact on those who experience it is as diverse as how people deal with it. For some, it may have little impact on their lives and careers, because they manage it through medication, surgery or find relief through chiropractic care.

Pain is a part of the healing process in any injury, especially traumatic ones, and it is a sign of normalcy that it will eventually go away. Yes, the body seems sometimes to have mystical ways of dealing with pain when your life is on the line.  Science tells us that the body, when injured, will literally release what one study calls “natural opioids,” which are beta-endorphins and other pain relievers.

It is safe to say we all feel pain in different ways and cope with it differently. At the same time, it can be detected and measured so it is not something just solely perceived by the person who is feeling it. Neuroscientists can objectively measure pain through brain scans and other imaging, which may eventually replace the traditional way physicians measure our pain. They ask us.

So even if you have two patients and they, coincidentally, are both suffering from the same injury and you measure it at the same level, is it affecting both patients the same? The truth is that one may actually be able to function by doing basic tasks and the other may be unable to do anything but lie in bed, possibly in a protective coma.

What’s Your Pain Threshold?

Pain ManagementHow we handle pain is just one of the things that makes us different, and though the pain may be the same, the tolerance of it isn’t.

Pain tolerance is also known as the pain threshold. Our pain thresholds may be low or high. If your pain threshold is high, it means that you can handle a lot more of it than most people. When the threshold is low, you can’t take very much of it.

So does that mean that the person with high tolerance to pain is comfortable when most of us aren’t? Or is it that he or she has some kind of inner fortitude to ignore it or virtually will it away? It is true that you can ignore pain longer if distracted, but is that proof of anything regarding pain thresholds?

How we tolerate pain definitely has something to do with these natural pain-killers and how they are released.  These, too, can be measured, and we are told by neuroscience that women generally have a lower pain threshold than men, because they don’t release as many of those endorphins. Then again, the average healthy adult male has supposedly never experienced the pain that women feel in childbirth.

We also know we don’t have to live with a low pain threshold, because deep breathing, meditation and other so-called distractions have been shown to increase one’s tolerance of pain. You can hide your pain with medication, but the pain is still there and there is no healing taking place. So why settle for that when we can offer you true healing and escape from pain?

—Call us today at (201) 651-9100 for an appointment at Oakland Spine & Physical Therapy…