When you have a new pain, it can be confusing to know how to interpret it. Seek help or leave it alone?

Each case will be unique but hopefully this list will help you a little on your way!

  1. Any acute swelling or bruising means tissues have been broken and need healing. Advice: see a therapist 24-72 hours later and follow the PRICE (protect, rest, ice, compress, elevate) protocol. If the skin is broken, make sure it doesn’t get infected by washing the wound and covering with sterile bandages.
  2. If your pain has come on insidiously after a high load of activity, this points towards an over-stressed tissue that has had to do more work than its due. If pain is not completely disappearing within a day or two, I would strongly encourage seeking the opinion of a therapist. Nip these ones in the bud or they can become your nagging friends for years! The tissues are not torn or broken meaning they won’t heal unless you revert the body back to its normal movement patterns to avoid over-stressing the tissue again.
  3. If you never have pain during activity but feel it during work or times of stress, this suggests the pain is more connected with your brain than your muscles. Sometimes, it’s just a case of being very tired and the body becomes more sensitive, which means it’s sending your conscious more signals than usual. We may also be holding tension in our bodies without realising it: common sites can be the jaw, low back and shoulders. Deep breathing in and out through the nose with full exhalations can help us rejuvenate and relax. Those who have suffered significant traumatic events in life (whether recent or not) or who are feeling depressed may need to think further and seek the help of a counselling therapist for their physical pain, strange as that may seem.You cannot separate the body from the mind!
  4. Lastly, if you have constant nagging pain with no position of ease you should seek the opinion of a medical expert such as your GP.

As friendly (and free) as Dr. Google is, getting the best solution and diagnosis for you isn’t always as easy or beneficial online as going to see a professional. They’ll be able to help you figure out the best plan of action specifically based on your activity levels, symptoms and personal goals. If your category of pain hasn’t been addressed above, feel free to ask me where you think you should go for the best advice!