As a practicing Physical Therapist for over 26 years, I have pondered the often enigmatic occurrence of pain in individuals that have no identifiable injury. Chronic pain, which is defined as any pain with duration over 3 months, presents the greatest challenge for clinicians. I have researched and studied the many possible contributing factors to musculoskeletal pain and discovered causations as varied as the population I treat. Since physical pain can be caused from obvious injury, ( falls, sprains, accidents), repetitive motion, disease states, ( referral from internal organs) and a host of over 100 rheumatic or inflammatory disorders, pinning down and effectively treating pain can be a daunting task. My prevailing observation is that the degree of injury or damage, does not always correlate well with degree of pain. In other words, the body does not always give reliable information or indicators. There are some patients with significant damage or inflammation that should be experiencing tremendous amounts of pain, but do not, while others with little or no physical cause, report a great deal. Pain and it’s emotional counterpart, suffering, are as unique as the individual and often do not lend themselves to rhyme or reason.
It is for this reason I set out to explore the various possibilities. Why is it that some people heal from injury, continue to function well, and have little or no recurrence of pain or disability, while others have repeated bouts of pain that functionally limit them on a regular basis?
I will be posting my observations, research and findings over the next few weeks.