Pain - it really is all in our heads
In the last few years, our understanding of pain has changed dramatically. We used to think the body had specific pain receptors that when activated, created a pain sensation. We now know that it's much more complicated than that. It turns out that pain is actually an output of our brain, which means that our brain actually creates pain. Our pain is influenced by our environment, our emotional state, our thoughts and even our diet!
Just because pain is created by our brains, does not mean that our pain is not real.
Our pain is very real.
Research shows us the way
New research in pain science has helped to change our understanding of how humans experience pain and in turn, how we can help clients manage and eliminate their pain. This new understanding brings hope not only to individuals in pain but to health professionals whose goals are to help clients to live pain-free.
Research has shown us a few important concepts to understand about pain.
Pelvic floor physiotherapy focuses on pain experienced in the pelvic region. This includes but is not limited to pain in the pubic symphysis area, sacroiliac joint (SIJ) region, low back, hip, tailbone and genital area. Pain may be associated with a certain activity such as pain with urinating, painful bowel movements, pain with intercourse and pain with sitting. Both men and women of all ages can experience pain in the pelvic region. Pelvic floor physiotherapists are equipped with skills to treat clients experiencing all different types of pelvic pain.
We have an opioid crisis on our hands!
A new approach to managing and treating pain couldn't come at a better time.
Canada is now in the midst of an opioid crisis. We are now the second largest per capita users of prescription opioids in the world. Many people are still prescribed opioids for pain management despite the fact that research shows that these drugs do not show a clinically important change in pain levels of people in pain. On the contrary, research DOES support interdisciplinary care, exercise and physiotherapy for the treatment of pain!
The time has come to reframe how we think about pain and consequently, how we treat pain.
How can you take charge of your pain?
An important part of managing and treating your pain is to have HOPE. Hope that your pain will go away. Hope that you will be able to return to all the activities that you enjoyed doing before.
Learning about your pain and understanding your pain is an important part of treating your pain. Your pelvic floor physiotherapist is a good resource for helping you to take the first steps to understanding your pain and giving you the confidence to tackle it. They may challenge your existing views about your pain and help you to think about your pain in a different way.
Developing a strong therapeutic relationship with your pelvic floor physiotherapst is also important. Find a health professional that understands your pain and takes the time to listen to your story. Sometimes with pelvic pain or persistent pain of any kind, there are strong emotions that are attached to our pain. Find a health practitioner that you feel comfortable with as addressing the emotions around your pain may be an important part of managing and treating your pain.
Discover ways to move that make your body feel good. Movement is one of the best ways to treat and manage pain. Our bodies were meant to move. Your pelvic floor physiotherapist can help you to rediscover and find ways to move that are not threatening to your pain.
If you are experiencing pelvic pain, genital pain, persistent low back pain or persistent hip pain - an assessment with our pelvic floor physiotherapist is the first step returning to pain-free function.
To make an appointment with our pelvic floor physiotherapist - click here!
If you would like some more information or resources, check out the following videos and websites!
Check out the latest video from Professor Lorimer Moseley from Australia -- one of the leading pain scientists in the world!
Here are some other great websites to check out:
International Pelvic Pain Society:
Pelvic Health Solutions:
Kelly Leong is a Registered Physiotherapist, pelvic health advocate, yogi, crossfitter and self-proclaimed life-long learner.
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