Function vs Pain

As is the case with most of these posts, the idea has been inspired by a question from one of the practice members.

The statement on this occasion was – “Doc, I have been improving under care, but last night and today the pain is back”.

After a little light questioning we established that when Mr H first came into the office he was in constant pain, which varied depending upon what he was doing, but one of the aggravating factors was sitting, which was limited to five minutes. The night before his statement Mr H was sitting for half and hour before the pain started.

This highlights the need to focus on function rather than pain. Pain is an excellent feedback mechanism, it basically says you have either done too much or have done the wrong thing. However it is best utilised when put into the context of function. How much we can do before any aggravation occurs.

For this reason, it is best to pick a goal, ie what would you like to be able to achieve? Walk a mile? Run a marathon? Have enough energy to wake at 6am and go to bed at 10.30pm without energy flagging during the day? Then work toward this goal, paying attention to improvement in function, and use symptoms as feedback.

Or even better then symptoms use emotion as feedback. Does the 5 minute walk leave you feeling elated at your new found pain free walking range? Is there joy in being able to sit through a film in the cinema? The more we can focus on our bodies positive emotional feedback system the more on target we know we are.

I hope you found this blog on Function vs Pain useful and if you have any questions please comment below or email me direct.

Yours in health
Dr Gary

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