Pain is inevitable. Suffering is an option.– Zen Aphorism
Have you ever heard someone say, “I have a high tolerance for pain,” as a reason for not getting help for an injury? I hear it daily, from clients, and particularly women. This is not a badge of courage; this is a choice to suffer unnecessarily. The statement actually means: I am willing to tolerate a lot of pain for an undesignated amount of time. Instead, having a high threshold for pain means it takes a lot of stimuli, high pressure, force and temperature to produce pain.
The importance of pointing out the difference in phrasing is that tolerance and suffering is a choice. And usually people chose to suffer after a NEW injury or surgery because they are hoping it will go away or heal on its own. But that thinking can send many people down a rabbit hole called chronic pain. (We will talk about reoccurring injuries in another post, but suffice it to say getting IMMEDIATE attention to any type of injury is vitally important.)
Once you have a new injury or pain from surgery, the first seven days are crucial to accelerating the healing process and preventing chronic pain. As early as day eight after the traumatic event, a process called Long Term Potentiation starts in the learning and memory centers of the brain. This is when the brain starts creating neuro pathways to create a pain memory. This process is similar to skiing down a fresh patch of snow; you create groves in the snow, and every time you go down the same grooves again the grooves get deeper, until they become so deep you cannot get out of them. After 21 days, this pain memory that the brain has created is deeply embedded — and it changes the synaptic connections in the brain, which is the beginning of a chronic state. Untreated pain can also modify the way the central nervous system works, so that a patient could actually become more sensitive and get more pain with less provocation. That sensitization is called “central sensitization” because it involves changes in the central nervous system (CNS) in particular — the brain and the spinal cord. An individual in this process is more sensitive to things that should hurt, but also to ordinary touch and pressure as well. Their pain also “echoes,” fading more slowly than in other people.
At the New England Rapid Recovery Center, we have the technology that accelerates your body’s healing process and prevents the chronic pain development process from starting. We have the knowledge and experience to get you back to work, back to life or back on the field in HALF the time. Suffering is unnecessary.
Ji RR1, Kohno T, Moore KA, Woolf CJ.(2003) Central sensitization and LTP: do pain and memory share similar mechanisms? Trends Neurosci. Dec;26(12):696-705.
Alban Latremoliere & Clifford J. Woolf.(Sept. 2009.) Central Sensitization: A Generator of Pain Hypersensitivity by Central Neural Plasticity. J Pain. 10(9): 895–926