Myth Busting some common thoughts on Chronic Pain

At our Kelvin Grove Physiotherapy clinic as well as our Nathan Physiotherapy clinic, we hear and are often discussing some of the myths around chronic pain. 

We will outline some of these below and hope they help your informed decision making about your health.


  1. Pain = damage: Pain is essentially the result of a normal electrical signal that has been sent from one of the nerves in our body. Let’s use the arm in this example as it brushes past a bush. A sharp twig might scratch the arm, activating those nerve receptors and sending a message to the brain to say that something sharp was felt at the skin. Have you ever experienced a similar sharp pain but didn’t realize you were bleeding until you laid eyes on the blood? That’s because the new information from your eyes has put your sharp pain into context! Have you also ever felt that sharpness and been astounded that you weren’t bleeding? Maybe you have had a cut before and your deep memory has learnt to expect it?

In the end, pain is our ‘protection’ from the harms of the world and we can sometimes be extra protective when damage actually has not occurred. This is common in chronic pain, but the answer is not to just ignore it, humans are far more complex than that!

  1. No pain, no gain: Pushing through pain when we have previously been ‘alerted’ to that pain (e.g. “the same activity hurt last week and I didn’t quite recover”), does not often result in big improvements in the pain. In fact, it is more likely to worsen chronic pain. Sometimes your Physiotherapist might allow you to exercise with discomfort to a limit, but there are usually some strict caveats to this scenario that allow you to appropriately monitor and respond to what your body is telling you.
  2. There is no cure for chronic pain: While it is true that there is no quick fix, this is often the case for all physical ailments. In chronic pain, a complete cure (defined as returning to the original state of being) is perhaps a pipedream, but a cure that is defined as (life without the symptoms), is absolutely achievable with the right mix of care, consideration and patience. Your physiotherapist in Nathan or Kelvin Grove will be able to guide with strategies to significantly improve your quality of life.
  3. Surgery is the only answer: Much like the above answer, we find this one to be an interesting commentary on human nature’s preference for the quick fix, when reliably we find that there is no such golden ticket.

    If there truly was such a magic bullet, then someone would be mega-rich selling it!

    Surgery can be a useful tool in chronic pain scenarios, but we are finding more and more that our patients that respond best are the ones that have explored all other options first.
  4. “I just have to learn to live with it:” sounds like someone deflated and defeated. That can be an absolutely understandable position to find yourself in. Chronic pain sucks and is so tiring to manage.

    A journey of learning about your pain and learning what your body likes and does not like will often take time and the help of a caring health professional by your side who listens and understands your perspectives and experience of pain. The best physiotherapist will hear you and care for you, and teach you how to manage pain and improve your function.

We certainly hope that some of the myths we have covered today are somewhat debunked and that you find this perspective helpful in your journey out of chronic pain.

Don’t let the pain stop you in your tracks. Reach out to one of our physiotherapists in Brisbane to help personalize your plan forward.

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