Pain is a complicated, deeply individual, layered experience. If you remember some of your own experiences of pain it will be a spectrum that may include paper cuts, muscle pulls, child birth, a churning stomach, traumatic injury, grief, sports injuries (acute and overuse), stubbed toes, head aches, traveling chronic aches, or a broken heart. Every experience of pain has its own texture, intensity, duration and unique message.
We often conceptualize pain occurring at the site in which we feel the pain when in fact it is created in the nervous system. Context, tissue damage, emotions, pathology, thought patterns and environment all influence how and why the nervous system uses pain as a signal to get our attention. These same factors affect how we receive and process the message of pain. It’s complicated!
Here a few resources to help you understand where pain comes from, how it occurs in our systems, and the multitude of factors that influence each instance of pain we experience. This is a huge field of research and this is not even the tip of the iceberg. Remember if you are in pain right now it might be hard to digest all of the information in the resources below. Take time to carefully listen to and understand your own pain and then seek out any necessary, professional support.
Here is article from the NY Times about Forgetting the Pain of Exercise.
Explain Pain is a book by Dr. David S. Butler that helps guide you through how pain works and how you can work with it! Note- the electronic version of this book is hard to read. We recommend hard copy.