So, How Would You Describe Your Pain?

This guy was pretty young. Maybe around 22 or 23 years old. He was heavy, but you wouldn’t call him fat. He would probably be described as “stout”. Sort of like Fred Flintstone.

He was coming to see me because he had hurt his back. He was a delivery truck driver and had tried to pull a pallet load of something that was too heavy. Whatever it was escapes me now.

Anyway, he was in the clinic, laying face down on the treatment table. I was prodding his mid back trying to figure out and isolate the point that was giving him most, if not all, of his pain.

As I palpated (that’s the technical term for “prod”) along side his spine, he burst into laughter. You know, the kind of thing where your daydreaming and you suddenly remember a joke that you heard before. The problem was that no one had told a joke.

I asked him what he was laughing about. He told me that that’s where the pain was.

So, I went back over the same spot. And, he laughed again. I asked him, ” Are you sure that this is where it hurts?” and he said, “Yes”.

I had to asking again, “so, why are you laughing?”

And he said, “I don’t know. I just laugh when something hurts me”.  Naturally I didn’t believe him until I kept pressing the same spot over and over again.

He just kept laughing and laughing. And, he didn’t tell me to stop. That is until I put a little extra pressure on it (but he was still laughing. Sort of like I was tickling him).

I told him that he was wasting his time driving a truck. He needed to go into Mixed Martial Arts or something like that. I told him his opponents would never know when to stop hitting him because he would always be laughing at him.

True story. (disclaimer: the person in the photo IS NOT the person in the story)

So, what’s your pain like? Where does it start? How long does it last? Share in the comments section if you don’t mind.

Some people have vivid descriptions. Then others have not so vivid descriptions. But, however you describe your pain is important. Accurate pain descriptions will tell your doctor, chiropractor, or, physical therapist a lot about what may be going on with you.

Now, if you’ve read some of the other articles here, you’ll have read that most back pain is due to muscle strains and the like. But there are other things that can cause your back to hurt.

Most of the time muscular pain can feel like an “ache” that increases with certain movements. And, it may become “sharp” with those movements.  But, most of the time, it just stays in the same area. It doesn’t travel around.

On the other hand, if a nerve is irritated, it could feel like an “electric shock”, or, a “buzzing” (at least this is how some have described it).

The general difference between a nerve pain and muscular pain is that the nerve pain usually has a “shooting” quality to it. It travels up or down the leg and into the hip or back.

Sometimes your back or leg may feel like it’s “going to sleep”. Some describe this as “pins and needles”. This sensation could mean a few different things.

But, along with the sensation, it’s important that you describe where the pain is located. In the back, on the hip, down the side of the leg, down the back of the leg, etc.

Describing the location, along with how it feels is very important. You might want to consider keeping a journal about it.

But, what’s also important is talking with others about it too.

Take the time and leave a comment describing your situation. Get a conversation going on.
photo credits: Carnage at the Creek 6 © by KellBailey

4 thoughts on “So, How Would You Describe Your Pain?”

  1. We humans have such hectic lifestyles that health seems to be the last thing on everybody’s mind. I am in the computers field and my day job requires me to sit for long hours and when at home have to attend to the household chores. The most common ailment that I always face is that of lower back pain.

    The pain is caused due the lower muscles being weak, when consulted with the professional he has advised me to make lifestyle changes accordingly. I can so relate to the article, the person who is in pain can only feel the agony of another person.

  2. I have to sit long hours in my office, it’s about 8 hours. After the office time i feel so tired & dizzy. Is there any danger lurking behind in the future for my sitting for long hours? i am little bit worried about that. Is there any way to prevent Back Pain??

    Thanks for the vital post.
    -Scarlett.

    1. Hello Scarlett. Thank you for the comment. Hey, the part about feeling “tired & dizzy” sounds like something you should talk to your doctor about sooner rather than later. Sitting at a desk shouldn’t make you “dizzy”. But, that’s just MHO.

      As far as preventing back pain there is a way to do it if the back pain is due to tight and/or weak muscles due to static, prolonged sitting postures. Sitting for long periods can actually weaken your hip extensor muscles and shorten the hip flexor muscles that attach to the “front of the back” and inside the pelvis. Both of these can contribute to back pain. Plus, research has shown that prolonged sitting can actually contribute to weakening of the intervertebral discs which can cause serious back pain.

      As far as prevent goes, regular walking will go a long way to preventing the problems that lead to this type of back pain. The basic objective with any fitness program for back pain is to keep the muscles in the middle of your body (below the nipple line and above the knee) conditioned and fit. Exercising for back pain is just about keeping these muscles lengthened and working properly. It’s not about doing “cardio”, “losing weight”, “having a six pack” or any of the other popular ideas of “fitness”. Don’t make a job out of it. Just relax and have fun.

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