Pain is a protective reflex. Without pain signals we would not survive. Pain helps us protect an injured body part in order to minimize the impact of the injury. We have receptors throughout the body that can send these type of signals to the brain. These signals make us, for example, pull our hand away from a hot plate.
Some pain lasts a long time. If you have had recurrent pain for more than 3 to 6 months, it is chronic pain, which is a disease in itself according to WHO International Classification of Disease, ICD-11. As many as 20% of the population live with chronic pain that has an impact of their quality of life.
When the pain is chronic, pain signals are sent even though there is no longer any immediate danger. Doctors do not yet know why some people develop chronic pain and others do not. It is a complex condition that is affected by many parameters.
Physical activity has a positive effect on pain. During movement, hormones that provide pain relief and increase well-being are produced. Exercise in combination with self-management has proven to have a positive effect on increasing quality of life when living with chronic pain.
In 2020, the definition of pain was updated by the International Association of the Study of Pain (IASP) and the new definition clarifies that pain always is a personal experience. The pain is to varying degrees affected by biological, psychological and social factors. It is crucial that each individual’s experience of pain is respected.
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