Do you ever feel like your pain may not be real?
There is no visible evidence of the pain you are experiencing, no bruising, no swelling, perhaps no movement impairment, and therefore it is hard for people to around you to understand the degree to which you are experiencing pain.
You are not alone. In clinic, we see many patients for whom this is a common feeling. Seeing a osteopath who can help you identify the cause of the pain can be a huge relief, and can help start the healing process.
The Case History
The first part of helping a patient to understand their pain is the history taking. As an Osteopath, I will ask you questions about your medical history and develop a timeline of the functional and structural strains and stresses that have occurred, and to help me understand what may have happened.
If you are not sure how or when the pain started the process of discussing your case history may trigger memories of events or incidents seemingly unimportant, but which may begin to answer the questions you have – Why? How? When?
If you can remember when and why the pain started this can be quite a straight forward process, although I will consider the possible impact on the rest of the body.
The physical examination builds on the knowledge gained from the case history. Assessing your active movement will often reveal functional changes in the way you use your body to accommodate the pain, whilst the movements that I initiate will show me where there are structural restrictions.
However, it is when I start to feel the tissue changes and report back to you what I am feeling will help to reassure you that the pain is there and you are not imagining it. For so many patients this physical touch demonstrates that their pain is of a musculoskeletal nature and it is something a osteopath can address.
Once the examination (including any clinical exams we use to identify specific tissue or joint damage -similar to GP’s) has been completed, we will talk through the diagnosis, and for some this may be a specific injury, but for many patients it is a summation of structural and functional changes that has led them to the point where their body can no longer cope. By discussing the possible causes and the impact on the body it helps patients to gain a perspective on their pain, and then we can begin to work together to consider treatment and management plans.