Origins of Pain

Muskuloskeletal pain, dysfunction and discomfort can have a number of different sources and it can be surprising what you can learn.

A question of belief?
I once did a continuing professional development seminar with a well respected tutor of massage and manual therapy  and he told us an interesting story. He had been suffering with chronic lower back pain. He had visited many different therapists, some of whom considered to be at the top of their game, he had had scans and everyone was confused as to why the pain was so persistent. There had been identifiable pathology to suggest that there were physical reasons for this pain to exist.

The tutor then had a conversation with another therapist and through questioning, it turned out that the pain started at a specific age and it was established that the tutors father had suffered the exact same type of pain, although his was as a result of trauma. On further questioning, it was apparent that his father wasn’t able to pick him up as a child. The interesting thing was, the tutor’s pain started at the same age his father was when the tutor first leant the reason why his father couldn’t pick him up. As soon as this was established, the back pain started to subside, gradually lessened over a short period of time to the point where it disappeared and it never returned.

A similar thing.
I had been suffering with sciatic pain for about three months and I was exploring for myself as to what the cause might be and I found trigger points in all kinds of interesting places and each time I found and deactivated them, I would get relief for a short time. Usually a couple of hours. It didn’t stop me doing anything, but it was very irritating and unpleasant to have this pang of pain radiating down my leg each time I stood up and when I was walking.

I remember having a conversation with someone who I hoped might help me. He’s a physiotherapist and I was hoping he’d offer to have a look or provide me with some kind of useful information. It didn’t happen and he made it clear he really wasn’t interested. There was a part of me that thought: “Oh well, I don’t need your help!” It was a clear as day. There was also another part of me that said:”But I do, I was hoping you’d have an answer!” That part of me was much less distinct than the first part had been. Then an interesting thing happened.

When I stood up after this disappointing conversation, there was no pain. When I began to walk, there was no pain. Each time I stood up after that, it felt like there was something missing. The pain has not reoccured since and it has been several years now since then. As with the previous story, there was physical reasons why this might be happening, but there was no change once these had been cleared. The last piece of the puzzle seemed to be that something had to happen on the level of mind or psychology or mentality in order for the whole to come together and for the physical work I’d done to have an effect.