Pain: Friend or Foe? The Difference Between Good and Bad Pain

Posted underMSK Pain

Welcome to the first blog of MSK Pain. In this post, we’ll be discussing the difference between good and bad pain and how it relates to chronic musculoskeletal pain. 

Patients often wonder if the pain they’re experiencing is a sign of worsening pathology. The truth is, there’s good pain and bad pain. Good pain acts as a warning mechanism, alerting you to potential danger and prompting you to take action. Bad pain, on the other hand, persists for longer than three months and provides little protective benefit.

When you experience pain, it activates various responses in your body, including emotional, cardiovascular, and muscle activation. Chronic musculoskeletal pain can keep your body in a protective state for extended periods, leading to fear avoidance behavior and reduced movement. This type of pain is characterised by constant discomfort that interferes with even minor day-to-day activities.

To manage chronic musculoskeletal pain, it’s essential to break the muscle activation and fear avoidance cycle. Psychological support can help patients understand the absence of worsening structural pathology and introduce relaxing strategies to counter the fear avoidance and muscle activation cycle. Physical treatments, such as soft tissue measures and exercise therapy, can reduce abnormal muscle activation and encourage patients to move into the painful range of movement.

One of the key pillars of pain management is minimal invasive interventions, such as radiofrequency denervation, which can reduce pain from painful structures, specifically facet joints. This reduces protective muscle activation and fear behavior, allowing patients to move more freely and improve their overall wellbeing.

Over the next few months, we’ll be exploring these specific treatment strategies, including physical, psychological, pharmacological, and interventions, to help manage chronic musculoskeletal pain in the long term. 

Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for more.

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