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What Does Pain Tell You?


Photo courtesy of SashaW


When I was a kid I had a big sneeze one time and a bean came out of my nose.  At the time I didn’t know it was a bean, I thought it was part of my brain.  I was pretty worried but since I didn’t seem any more stupid than normal, I soon forgot about it.  I now know how the bean got there but the truth is that our anatomy and the symptoms we feel can be quite a mystery and a source of great anxiety.


I thought I would highlight a few of the common types of pain to help you discern what might be going on.  Before I do that, you might be interested to know that 80% of us, at any given time, feel something uncomfortable that is out of the ordinary.  Little aches and pains are common.


Burning – Unless you’re actually on fire, most burning pain is from muscles, usually ones that are weak and over stretched and consequently have compromised blood flow.

Ache – This is what is called a sclerotogenous pain which is a term that refers to the deep tissues of your body.  This kind of pain is often felt distant from where the problem is, also called referred pain.

Sharp or Stabbing – Sharp stabbing pain is often from your joints.  Inflammation or dysfunction (abnormal movement) is the usual cause.  Movement often makes it feel worse.

Throbbing – When you have a throbbing headache, it is often vascular (blood vessels) in origin, like a migraine.

Referred Pain – You can often tell when your pain is coming from somewhere else when you can’t pinpoint the sore spot.  You may have a sore leg for example, but because the problem is in your back, hard as you might try, your leg doesn’t hurt when you touch it.


Only 1 out of 9 nerves actually carry pain information so you can have a lot wrong with you without knowing about it.  It’s much safer to judge your health by how well you function rather than by how you feel.


Any weird pains lately?


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