Pain is one of the most complex sensations one can experience and it is often associated with actual or potential tissue damage. Understanding pain and its clinical presentation is crucial to identify the cause and subsequent course of treatment. For example in this case study you have patient A and patient B who both have back pain. Patient A experiences a dull ache followed by a sharp catching pain with bending backwards or twisting. Patient B experiences moderate ache with sharp shooting or burning pain down back of the leg with bending forwards. Both scenarios of back pain are managed differently and treating Patient A the same why you treat Patient B will would aggravate his condition and vice versa. Therefore it is crucial to get appropriately assessed by your physiotherapist to determine the best coarse of treatment.
In recent decades the idea that pain is purely a physical phenomenon is changing and now we view pain in a bio-psychosocial approach. This means that pain is multi-factorial and can be aggravated by things going on in your social and personal life. This is quite common with people who experience chronic pain who also go on to develop fear avoidance behavior, maladaptive movement patterns, poor postures and catastrophising beliefs about their condition. Breaking down the barriers to chronic pain must occur with collaboration with the patient and a honest discussion must occur to re-enable the patient to take control of their pain and make sense of it all.