The most basic definition of body pain is physical suffering or discomfort caused by illness or injury. (Google definition) Pain is uncomfortable, unpleasant, but also very important. Many would say that life without pain would be much better, but without pain, it would be much more difficult to diagnose injuries and illnesses and prevent more extensive injuries.
Pain receptors in our skin tell us when something is hurting us, for example, when we touch a hot stove, there is an automatic response in our bodies that allows us to pull our hands away to prevent further injuries. If a muscle is stretched too far, pain within the muscle will tell the person that they need to decrease the stretch in the muscle.
Pain is also able to tell us when there is something wrong inside our bodies, For example, during a heart attack, the pain felt by men and women, while it presents itself differently for the two genders is quite specific and warns the person something serious is happening.
The sports massage therapist will evaluate pain and use it to understand the injury, create a treatment plan and evaluate the efficacy of the treatments. Sports massage therapists will use various different tools to evaluate pain.
The first tool that the sports massage therapist will use is a pain scale, they will ask the person to rate the pain on a level of 1-10, 1 being no pain, and 10 being so much pain you aren’t conscious. This gives the sports massage therapist the ability to compare the level or intensity of pain perceived by the person upon each visit.
The next tool that the sports massage therapist will use is a description of pain. There are many different ways to describe the pain and each description can help to pinpoint what the actual problem might be. Some examples of works used to describe pain are; burning, tingling, pins and needles, pulling, tearing, referred, stabbing, pulsing, throbbing, pinching, spreading, itchy, dull, weakening, to name but A few.
A health questionnaire will include questions such as:
By asking these questions, the sports massage therapist can evaluate if the injury or cause of pain is acute meaning it had a sudden onset; or chronic, meaning that the pain has been creeping up slowly.
Knowing a person’s past injuries will help the sports massage therapist understand if the there are chronic injuries or weaknesses that may have caused the current injury. It will also give the sports massage therapist a good idea of the pain tolerance of each individual person. The exact same injury on two different people will be experienced differently by each person.
One of the ways to evaluate if treatments with any therapist are working is to see if the pain changes. Sometimes body pain might increase after the initial treatments, but this is normal. The only time to be worried is if within three to five treatments pain hasn’t been affected either positively or negatively.
It must be accepted that pain won’t go away quickly and it may take time for the treatments to take full effect. In the short term, there are things that can be done to decrease pain and make injuries more comfortable using the gate control theory. This means distracting your nervous system from the pain with creams, rubbing skin and taping.
When going to consult a sports massage therapist, it is important not to take any pain killers right before unless completely necessary. It will change the information the sports massage therapist receives from the pain sensations in the body and may alter a treatment plan.
If injured, try to think of how to describe your pain to better help the sports massage therapist understand the source of the pain and create a treatment plan. Call us today to schedule a treatment for your pain.