Pain is a very important normal protective response to threat or potential threat. It is the brain’s way of ringing the alarm to signal danger.Pain experience is guided by many factors feeding into the brain:
Education and understanding pain are critical for you to overcome your pain and return to a fulfilling life. It is now known that understanding more about why things hurt can help people to overcome their pain, by giving them the knowledge to take control and challenge their pain.
An important part of you taking control is having an active and central role in your management. Hampton Park Physio’s concept of self-management is that you the patient is empowered to make decisions regarding the treatment and self-management strategies that most assist you optimize your ability to manage your condition.
It is well recognized that lack of exercise and poor diet can lead to weight gain which can worsen an individual’s pain experience and lead to feeling depressed. There is a strong link between the physical pain being experienced and the mental health struggles that accompanies. There is mounting evidence that our immune system plays a central role in depression and other mental health problems. (Jacka 2017). "We're increasingly understanding that the gut and its resident microbiome has a leading role in prompting immune function and is very much involved in brain health. Diet and nutrition are as relevant to brain and mental health as they are to physical health.” Jacka says. This all highlights the importance of maintaining a good balanced diet to aid your recovery by providing the fuel you need to exercise and increase activity while avoiding weight gain and at the same time improving your mood and general alertness. Referral to a Dietician may be indicated to help you understand the changes you need to make to your diet.
Persistent pain is generally accompanied by increasing anxiety and fear which in turn can lead to increasing sleep disturbance which further heightens the pain experience resulting in a vicious circle. (Monagle 2016) It is important to try and establish a regular sleep pattern. The use of relaxation techniques such as relaxed breathing, hotpacks and/or medication may assist you to develop a better sleep pattern. Sleeping well can help lift your mood, give you more energy to exercise and engage in activity and assist you to cope better with your pain.