Pain, Pain Go Away

April 10, 2017

There has been a recent burst of mainstream media attention for persistent pain and the ways it affects people, the health system, society in general.

TV shows like “the doctor that gave up drugs”. Newspapers with stories of more regulation for previously over-the-counter pain medication and highlighting the massive burden on GPs. Just this past weekend the “Pain Revolution” rolled into Adelaide at the end of a week-long rural pain education and promotion campaign.

But, unfortunately, most people still miss the message.

This occurs for 2 reasons.

  1. They aren’t able to access help.
  2. They get the wrong message.

Wrong messages take a few different guises. It can be a prescription for pain relief medication that has been shown multiple times to not work and cause more problems. It could be a scan that picks up normal changes in a body part that then become blamed as the cause of pain. It could be a structural diagnosis that leads to the belief that you can’t change it.

Is it from a drug company, that tells you “nerve pain is different – speak to your GP”? It sets the person up to ask for drugs. If the GP doesn’t agree, what hope does they have of convincing the person in pain that “nerve pain” medication is bad, let alone the concept that “nerve pain” doesn’t exist? Look at the graphic with this blog – how scary does that look!!! Similar images advertise these drugs.

As a very random, but ultimately relevant (trust me, you’ll see) segue, my favourite video games as a kid were the Mortal Kombat series. The opening title screen of Mortal Kombat 3 is a line – “There is no Knowledge that is not Power”. While no doubt making me sound equal parts nerd and lame, this has always stayed with me. I’m sure it is intended to reference kicking butt in a fight, but I’ve applied it to many things I have tackled in my life, and it applies to managing persistent pain.

The more you understand it, the better you are at managing it.

Consistently shown to be the best treatment for persistent pain is greater knowledge.

Research drives our knowledge of the nervous system and what happens when you are in pain. This knowledge informs our approach to treatment. Imparting this knowledge to you is the main part of this treatment. Gaining knowledge of your own condition undoubtedly improves your situation. You are in control of your pain, your health, your life. Knowledge is Power.

In the not too distant future, when I’ll be able to play Mortal Kombat on my virtual reality gaming headset, a person in pain will seek the help of a physiotherapist. Or they may go to the GP who, deciding it’s nothing sinister, will send them to a physiotherapist without a scan or a prescription.

And the message from the physiotherapist will be supportive, informed, up to date and consistent across the board.

Until the day that happens, when you’re in pain, call Newcastle Performance Physiotherapy.

Until next time