Types of Pain

Pain is a complicated and complex feeling. Pain can be acute or chronic, intense or dull, life threatening or a nuance, physical or emotional, expected or unpredictable, and even self-induced or external. I feel different pain when I run hard during races and workouts, when someone says something that hurts me, and when I burn myself cooking pizza (that was last week!). Other people may feel chest pain when they are having a heart attack, head pain due to a migraine, phantom limb pain after an amputation, abdominal pain from a stomach bug, or low back pain that has been persistent or reoccurring for years. Sometimes pain is easy to figure out and solve; however, often pain is difficult to understand and treat.

Today I am going to discuss types of pain that are caused by physical factors. As a physical therapist, most of the pain I treat is due to musculoskeletal (muscle/ligament/tendon/bone) or neurological (nerve) issues. Below I have outlined how to interpret various pain sensations, the timing of pain, and a few general treatment options for these types of pain.

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Hypermobility & The Beighton Scale

Do you ever worry about your flexibility? Are your joints too stiff or too mobile? Certain sports such as ballet and gymnastics encourage flexibility, whereas other sports such as cycling tend to produce joint tightness. As a former gymnast, I am very familiar with hypermobility – doing full splits and achieving incredible positions with my limbs was easy. While a certain amount of flexibility is desired, too much can be hazardous to our bodies and can also indicate joint or connect tissue disorders.

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Wall Slides for Posture

Posture is extremely important and I have written about it several times before on the blog (Importance of Posture and Posture Exercises). Correct posture allows us to breathe more efficiently, decreases joint pain, improves circulation, and facilitates a healthy spine. Today we will focus on a postural exercise specifically for the upper body: wall slides.

Start by standing with your back against a wall. Try to get the back of your head to touch the wall without moving the rest of your body forward and without looking up at the ceiling. Your feet can be a foot or two away from the wall to help get your spine aligned. 

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Love Your Heart

Today’s topic is about caring for your heart and Cardiac Rehab, a supervised exercise and educational program to help patients strengthen their hearts and lead healthier lives. While most athletes are not concerned about their heart health, there are many athletes that have heart problems. Exercising does not outdo a bad diet or other poor lifestyle choices. Even marathon runners are seen in Cardiac Rehab.

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Exercise Fights Chronic Conditions and Training Update April 2018

The Journal of Orthopedic and Sports Physical Therapy recently published an article about the disease-fighting benefits of exercise. The article is titled, "Physical Activity and Exercise Therapy Benefits More Than Just Symptoms and Impairments in People With Hip and Knee Osteoarthritis." Many people know how exercise makes your muscles and bones stronger, releases endorphins and improves your mood, aids with weight loss and overall health; however, the articles states exercise also improves the symptoms and impairments of osteoarthritis as well as the "prevention of at least 35 chronic conditions and treatment of at least 26 chronic conditions." The article mentions these effects are in-part made possible by exercise induced anti-inflammatory effects. 

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