Why am I in pain?

Short answer: Pain is a message between our body and our brain when it is in disorder and can occur due to a combination of physical, mental or emotional causes.

Long answer:

According to Chronic Pain Australia, pain is an unpleasant or uncomfortable body experience caused by activation of the nervous system. It is typically caused by a known injury or illness, but sometimes the cause of pain can be unknown. Sounds simple but it is one of the most complex and expensive health issues we face, with 3.4 million people in Australia dealing with chronic pain, costing the economy $144.1 billion dollars annually.

Australia is on the front foot with the issue of pain management and is the first country to create a National Strategic Action Plan for Pain Management. Chronic Pain Australia has declared the last week of July as National Pain Week and the International Association for the Study of Pain has dedicated the whole of 2021 to the issue of Back Pain.

If you are experiencing pain, you are not alone.

There are numerous types of pain with varying causes and treatment methods, ranging from acute (immediate onset and quick recovery) to chronic (often longer onset and sometimes permanent).

Nociceptive: Created by pain receptors (nociceptors) in the body in response to physical injury (cuts, sprains, strains, etc) and designed to make us focus on and effectively treat an injury to prevent further tissue damage or infection of an open injury site.

Neuropathic: A pathology created by nerves in response to localised damage (bulging disc compressing a spinal nerve) or a malfunctioning nervous system (peripheral neuropathy in Type 2 diabetes).

Nociplastic: Chronic pain that is more widespread or intense, or both, than would be expected given the amount of identifiable tissue or nerve damage. It is often associated with changes in the central nervous system, altering sensory processing and pain modulation. This can occur as a result of previous trauma, abuse or infection and is seen in conditions such as fibromyalgia and functional neurological disorder (FND). Symptoms of these conditions can include fatigue, muscle/joint aching throughout the body, consistent pain regardless of movement, dissociative seizures or persistent weakness resembling a stroke.

Given the different types and presentations of pain that people can experience, our role at WLC Medical is to work with people to identify these causes to either treat and manage or refer where appropriate.

This may range from physiotherapy treatment for both acute and chronic injuries, to a dietetic approach in discussing the role between certain inflammatory foods and how they adversely affect the body, or a psychological approach into discussing the potential causes/triggers of ongoing pain and how it may be affecting them.

For those conditions requiring further specialist management, referrals can be made either through Nurse Practitioner Julie Mclean at Perth Paediatric and Family Clinic (situated within the same building as WLC Medical) or your regular GP.