Am I Injured? The Confusing Truth about Pain


Most of us like to think we know ourselves fairly well – we know we’re happy when the sun is shining, when we drink a good cup of coffee, or when we spend time with our loved ones. On the other hand, we also know when we’re sad: we may have lost our favourite sneakers, hit a pothole, or experienced emotional trauma. In many ways, all of that seems quite evident to us. Yet things can get rather complicated when it comes to physical injuries. How do we know of we have neck pain, shoulder, or back pain? How do we know if our knees, hips, or lower backs are giving us problems? How can we differentiate between different types of pain? It often seems as if it’s harder to self-diagnose physical pain than it is to pinpoint heartache or joy. And yet, knowing why you’re in pain is actually the most invaluable knowledge there is for treating the root cause of the problem and, therefore, eradicating the pain itself. In this post, then, we’re talking about how injuries can be confusing, how we can tell if we’re really injured – and where we’re injured – and how we can clear it all up once and for all! Let’s jump straight in.

As we said, getting to the bottom of your pain is crucial to alleviating it – treating your elbow, for example, may not do any good if it's your wrist that really gives you the trouble. And just to make things even more confusing, your pain might not even point to an injury in the first place! That’s right! Oftentimes, we may experience pain that is fleeting and that disappears on its own. So it is completely crucial to understand the difference between a once-off pain and a chronic, crippling form of pain. Why? Well, if you don’t attention to the pain and it actually points to an injury, then you might end up exacerbating the pain, and damage, even more. Ultimately, we need to find out if the reason for pain is a fleeting injury or not. It's time to treat it properly after this. First of all, let us know the difference between injury and acute pain.

When it comes to pain, listening to your body is the first port of call. Your body is a sophisticated organism – its ability to signal injury in the form or discomfort and pain cannot be underestimated. Sensation is like your body’s language, and pain, therefore, is like a warning which signals a problem. If we listen carefully enough, our bodies will inform us of our ailments. So, when it comes to knowing if we’re injured or not, we have to listen. Check for any signs of injury: swelling, discolouration, temperature spikes – difficulty walking, pressure on the area or sensitivity to touch are all indicators that something is wrong. A tip for you: if you suspect that you’ve been injured, apply heat/ice immediately. More often than not, inflammation accompanies pain – heat and ice are able to alleviate the discomfort and swelling.  But be sure to be smart: if you experience pain over long periods of time, something is definitely wrong. Do not make the mistake of thinking that your pain is going to vanish by itself; listen to your body and plan to get the right kind of support.

Upon listening to your body and knowing that you are hurt, it's time to figure out just what kind of injury you have sustained. Establishing if you’ve pulled, strained, or torn a muscle can, at times, be as difficult as solving a Rubix cube… it can be incredibly challenging. One way to get to the bottom of it all is to analyse the types of activities you’ve done – Crossfit can give rise to different injuries than Yoga may, for example. Nonetheless, this is an inexact science, because incidents still vary wildly. It's one way to pinpoint the injury, though. Nonetheless, it is always safer, at the end of the day, to see a qualified physiotherapist to determine the exact cause and the care required.

Visiting a professional, hands-on physical therapist is by far the safest, fastest, and most effective way of both diagnosing and treating the root cause of your pain. A physiotherapist will not only ease the pressure, but will also provide you with the resources to sustain a pain-free life. Tailor-made exercises will follow your personalized injury care – all this ensures that the uncertainty you have endured is removed and you can get back to the things you enjoy.

At the end of the day, understanding injuries and pain can be tricky. It may seem impossible to identify either the cause of the pain or its location, but one thing is certain: it cannot be ignored. Hear your body, and agree to get the support you need. Take action. Analyze your behavior, stop doing those you think could be dangerous and get professional help.