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What is the Definition of Pain?

Posted by Renew Physical Therapy Portland on Thursday, September 12, 2019

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They say art is subjective and for many individuals they define art as, “I know it when I see it.” Pain is similar; you know it when you feel it. Pain can be tough to define because it comes in so many forms. Pain can be sharp or dull, stabbing or throbbing, acute or chronic. Broadly speaking, pain is an uncomfortable sensation and it is activated by the nervous system. By the end of this article, you will learn why we experience pain, how to describe the pain to your doctor, and what can cause pain from a physical therapist’s perspective.

Why Do We Even Experience Pain?

Although uncomfortable, pain does have a function. First, pain tells us something is wrong. Pain can also give us hints about causes. Some of the more obvious hints are the location of the pain, and you can broaden your vocabulary when talking about pain, you can get closer to diagnosing the cause. Next, we will talk about how your physical therapist can help you describe your pain so they can diagnose you.

How To Describe Pain To Your PT

When your physical therapist diagnoses your pain, they may want more details. Be prepared to describe the area where you are feeling the pain, when the pain is at its worst, and when the pain is at its least intensity. Does a certain action accentuate the pain? Are there other triggers that intensify the pain? Also use words like sharp, dull, stinging, throbbing, pinching or just plain sore.

Causes Of Pain From A Physical Therapy Perspective

Most pain is due to an activity that results in injury. For example, elbow pain and knee pain can come from an accident or even overuse. Other types of pain can come from non-activity. For example, neck and back pain can come from sleeping in the wrong position or sitting too long during work or during a road trip. Chronic pain (a pain that is present for longer than six months) can be caused by many factors including gradual degenerative processes such as arthritis or degenerative disc disease, musculoskeletal sprains/strains or overuse injuries that were resistant to other forms of medical intervention, secondary mechanical pain from prolonged immobilization of an injury, or sedentary activity due to illness.

How Renew Physical Therapy Can Help

The job of a physical therapist is to detect any biomechanical and lifestyle contributing factors to persistent pain conditions with a thorough subjective interview and physical examination. We continually re-assess each patient during his/her episode of care to ensure that the individualized treatment program is appropriately progressing toward a less painful and better quality of life.

In treating patients who are dealing with chronic pain, we are frequently involved in a multidisciplinary approach with a number of pain management clinics in Portland who use other forms of conservative interventions such as oral medication, injection procedures of medication or prolotherapy, counseling, radiofrequency ablation, spinal electrical stimulator devices, acupuncture, etc.

We realize that physical therapy is not always the answer in eliminating one’s physical pain, especially in cases of chronic pain that has been present for many years, but we believe we can assist most individuals in achieving a more manageable level of pain and thus, a better quality of life.

Renew Physical Therapy Is Located in Southeast Portland

Renew Physical Therapy is an independent manual physical therapy clinic that was established in December 2015 by Michael and Heidi Cantwell. Our facility features three private treatment rooms and an open gym area to treat all our patients’ needs, including Chronic Pain. You can find us at 11010 SE Division Street in Portland, Oregon.

Visit our About Us page to learn more about our practice, clinic, and staff. Call us at 503.928.4914 to schedule an appointment.



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Categories: Chronic Pain, Physical Therapist, Physical Therapy