What does your pain mean...?

There are many different sorts of pain and each can mean something a bit different. This is why if you visit an Osteopath or other medical practitioner you will be asked a whole range of questions about your pain and any other symptoms that you have. As well as being asked where your pain is, you might be asked what sort of pain is it: is it sharp or dull. Does the pain change over the day and what makes it worse or eases it. You will also be asked how long you have had it and whether it is there all the time or comes and goes.  The more information that you can give about your symptoms will help give a clearer picture about what is causing it.


Pain can be categorised into 2 different sections; Acute Pain or Chronic Pain... acute pain is pain that has come on and has lasted for less than 3 to 6 months, such as a sprained ankle, and chronic pain has been there for more than 6 months. The sensation of the pain is the same but the treatment approach needs to be different as often with chronic pain there has been an alteration in the body's way of processing pain. 


Here are just a few examples:

Sharp pain - this may be from an injury such as a sprain or strain or a muscle spasm.

Shooting Pain - this may also be related to muscle spasm but could be nerve irritation - such as sciatica. Sciatica is a shooting pain across the buttock and into the back of the thigh and may be as the result of one of the buttock muscles (piriformis) trapping the sciatic nerve as it goes through the muscle. If shooting pain is accompanied by pins and needles or numbness in the same limb then it is worth getting some advice. It may be a bulge on a disc which should fix itself over time but advice on how to manage it can speed recovery.

Muscular pain - can be a dull pain and may be there on the initiation of movement and is often worse in the morning and evening but eases up during the day. 

Chronic Pain - this is very persistent pain. It can vary in intensity and location. It can manifest as back pain, headache, plantar faciitis or abdominal discomfort and is often accompanied by chronic fatigue and anxiety.


Pain feels like a danger signal and often has a tendency to stop us moving but with many types of pain keeping the body moving speeds recovery. If you are unsure about your pain or accompanying symptoms please don't suffer in silence - seek some advice. 


All Osteopaths are trained to medically diagnose your pain and treat or refer as appropriate. If you would like any advice do email or call us hello@osteopathyforall.co.uk 01825 840582