If we've experienced a sprained wrist or ankle, we know the pain of sofHissue injury. It's an immediate shock but resolves as the injury heals. However, chronic pain involves the baseline stimulation of the nervous system, which becomes embedded – or bound. It's like a low hum of information to our nervous system, which adapts and accepts the stimulation as normal.
The memory of this event may persist even after the initial irritation resolves, so when a movement similar to the initial injurious motion happens, a protective reflex of tension erupts.
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Over time, this baseline tension becomes stronger and stronger, creating greater and greater immobility and, subsequently, more and more intense pain.
Any type of stress or emotional distress may aggravate the area by storing the arousal of tension at our weakest link first – the site of the injury – and thereby even more confusing the site of the referred pain.
This pain may even progress to uninjured areas, which speaks to the fact that the site of pain is rarely the source. Once we adapt to pain and it becomes chronic, kinetic chains of chronic tension invariably arise.