Are pain and injury the same thing?

Pain is an unpleasant experience and can bring on anxiety and depression. It controls our lives and decision making processes, but it doesn’t need to be this way. You have the power to claim your life back for yourself and start doing those things you love doing again.

When we are in pain we often become too dependant on others to make us feel better. It has been shown that in the long term, we are the only ones who can help ourselves, but we need to know how. Our rehabilitation only STARTS once we’ve finished our hands-on treatment. We need to think differently, and move differently.

So, what is pain? Pain is our body’s alarm system. It’s there to protect us. But sometimes, it can be overprotective. In spite of what seems logical, pain is not an indication that something is damaged. In a 2012 study, researchers took MRI scans of pain free people and found that 91% had disc degeneration, and 64% had disc bulges. Remember, these people had NO PAIN. So, if you thought that tears, sprains and bulges cause pain, this shows otherwise. While this was a study dealing with back pain, the same system works throughout the body.

Movement is the missing piece in most people’s rehabilitation. Movement helps to change the sensitivity of our “alarm system” and tells it that we can do more. A basic mantra that rehabilitation works by is - “if you can’t, you must”. Avoiding difficult movements just makes the cycle that much harder to break and eventually it takes less and less to bring about pain. Our goal is to do those exact movements that give you trouble, but in a better way that won’t set off the alarm.

So, while the brain is largely responsible for pain, the body plays a role too. Why did we need protecting in the first place? It could be lifting from a poor position, with a poor technique or not being strong enough. You may be playing golf with a body that doesn’t have the flexibility to swing properly. You may be doing a downward dog at yoga with an upper back that is too stiff. You may not be getting the shopping out of your car properly. If you can train yourself into better, stronger positions, you give it no real reason to protect you - no reason for pain. That’s rehabilitation! 

In the clinic we identify what is setting off the alarms, and work on addressing those movements. Rather than focusing on “the injury” we look at the way the body functions. Changing that focus helps to reprogram the “alarm”, but also gives you a bit of a picture into “why it happened in the first place”. By working on both the body (physiological) and brain (neurophysiological) you can achieve long term improvement and learn how to manage yourself going forward.


Here’s one happy client’s story…

My sincere thanks to Andrew Schwartz… He changed my life!

L4/L5 disc degeneration became my worst nightmare!!! I was a very active, fit, happy individual until I experienced lower back issues. I went from being extremely active to static! I became unfit as I was nervous, and scared of even moving in case I aggravated my injury. 

Andrew listened and took me on a journey that would not only see me pain free, but back at the gym and leading a normal life again… It only took 2 sessions and I felt very different and just kept progressing from there. He explained at the outset that we would not specifically "fix" the L4/L5 injury, but rather show me how to live a normal life by addressing the imbalances that I had created over time, and it was these imbalances that were responsible for the pain, not just the disc