The hot topic in Pain research over the last ten years, Chronic Pain (now termed Persistent Pain) is any pain lasting longer than the normal biological healing time frame (6-12 weeks).
Pain is useful to stop you causing damage to your body, but once it lasts longer than necessary, it no longer serves a protective function, but rather represents a hypersensitivity of the protective system itself. Since it is unpleasant, we all still respond to it in characteristic ways, depending on our life situation, background and understanding.
We used to think pain was from damage to tissues, stimulating nerve cells, telling our brain we were suffering. High quality research shows that our brain can have little or no pain with direct stimulation of these receptors, or can have severe pain being experienced in the absence of activity in these fibres.
It has become clear that pain is an OUTPUT of the brain, not an INPUT from our tissues; depending on our FEAR of THREAT to our tissues, not a simple response of the tissues themselves. This doesn’t mean that you can ignore a sprained ankle, but it provides strong biopsychosocial treatment pathways for people who have become stuck in patterns of pain, depression, weakness, reduced activity, and withdrawal from life.
Ask your physiotherapist if they can help; we can’t always fix you, but we can certainly help YOU get your life back.