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vendredi 25 février 2011

Pain and the body’s reaction to it:

Pour l'article en français, voir les archives svp.

Much more than just a bothersome discomfort, pain is a necessary evil. Pain is a genuine smoke alarm; it protects us by informing us of an injury or potential for injury. According to ISAP (The International Association for the Study of Pain); "Pain is an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience, related to actual or potential tissue damage, and can be considered like an injury or a lesion.”

Different types of receptors are present in the body to receive information from the outside world (receptors for temperature, pressure, stretching, chemical changes...). These receptors send a sensory message to the brain and the latter reacts via motor impulse which provokes a withdrawal reflex (an involuntary rapid movement, as when withdrawing your hand from a fire) or a change in body position.

The causes of pain:

Pain can be caused by any trauma such as a direct blow, sprain, wound, burn, disease or irritation of a nerve. Following this trauma, the body will go into protective mode creating muscle and soft tissue spasms around the aggravated area to help prevent further injury. It will also initiate the healing process. The human body is capable of healing itself. As soon as a lesion or injury is detected, the immune system creates cellular agents and sends them to the affected area to clean, disinfect, and rebuild the injured tissue.

Severe low back pain felt following a false movement, for example, is useful on several levels. First, it allows us to realize that there is a problem. The intense pain causes the soft tissue (muscles, tendons, ligaments, and skin) surrounding the low back to spasm and swell preventing us from being able to move.  This protective mechanism, caused by the inflammatory process, aims to restrict movement to bring us to rest so that we can recover.

The initial inflammatory response may last up to 72 hours depending on the severity of the injury. The perceived intensity of pain is specific and varies depending on people's personality, culture, mood, stress levels and well-being. Knowing that inflammation is necessary to start the healing process, we may wonder if the quest to eliminate it quickly is ideal. The first reaction is to try to block the sensation of pain by taking muscle relaxants, anti-inflammatory medication and applying ice.

It should be noted that the goal when taking these types of medication should not be simply to mask the pain sensation so that we can continue daily activities, sports or the repetitive movement that caused the problem. We firmly believe that controlling pain should be first and foremost to provide comfort while waiting to identify and address the underlying cause of the problem. One must be careful not to “band-aid” a wound to let us continue daily activities.

Protective spasm caused by the trauma will continue so long as the pain is present. If pain is present for two to three weeks, the protective mechanisms will last two to three weeks. When the protective mechanism lasts a long time, the nervous system adapts by altering the programming of soft tissue. Thus, the soft tissue can no longer meet its full flexibility. The reprogramming of soft tissue has them operate at a shorter length. If the fibres are shorter, the risk of becoming prisoner to the vicious circle of chronic pain becomes imminent.

If the muscles holding the shoulder joint together are shorter than they should be, for example, the risks of the shoulder joint rubbing and causing irritation increases. In addition, the nervous system becomes hypersensitive, which means that even the smallest irritant may cause a significant protective response.

written by:

Yanic Szoghy
Sports Kinesitherapist and Director of Centre Kinesis


Éliane Bousquet
Practitioner in Osteopathy, Sports massage therapist and director of Centre Kinesis

lundi 7 février 2011

L’importance de la proprioception!

For English scroll down.

Avant d'aborder les différents types de thérapies(traditionnelles et alternatives) disponibles, nous croyons qu'il est important de connaitre les effets de la douleur sur notre corps et le mécanisme de protection engendrée par le cerveau. Cependant, avant de parler de douleur nous croyons qu'il est important de bien comprendre le rôle de la proprioception.

La proprioception est la capacité du cerveau à connaître la position du corps et des membres dans l’espace.Grâce à des récepteurs situés dans les articulations, le cerveau reçoit des informations par rapport aux mouvements, la vitesse et la position. Il utilise ces informations pour réagir rapidement afin de maintenir l’équilibre du corps et de garder les articulations dans les limites de mouvements dits normaux. 

C’est donc la proprioception qui nous empêche d’avoir une entorse chaque fois que nous marchons sur une roche; le cerveau envoie un message rapide aux muscles afin qu’ils se contractent pour ramener le pied dans une bonne position et ainsi prévenir les blessures. 

Souvent négligée dans la rééducation et les entraînements, la proprioception s’avère pourtant essentielle pour protéger les articulations, prévenir la récidive de blessures (entorses, luxations, tendinites…), diminuer la douleur chronique, améliorer l’équilibre, la coordination et la posture ainsi que d’augmenter les performances sportives. Le travail proprioceptif permet aussi de développer la résistance musculaire et la vitesse de réaction de contraction, d’augmenter son niveau de conscience corporel et de concentration dans une activité. 

Il est d’autant plus important de travailler la proprioception puisque dès qu’une blessure survient, les récepteurs proprioceptifs sont lésés, deviennent moins efficaces et devront être rééduqués. Pour être efficace, l'entraînement proprioceptif doit être régulier, répétitif, soit après un échauffement global ou après un travail intense (baisse de vigilance).  

La rééducation proprioceptive nécessite peu de matériel et elle peut être effectuée facilement à la maison, suite aux explications de votre thérapeute qui vous préparera un programme d’exercices.

Le prochain blog sera consacré à la douleur et la réaction du corps face à la douleur.

English version;

Before discussing the different types of therapies (traditional and alternative) available to us, we believe it is important to know the effects of pain on our bodies and the protection mechanism generated by the brain. However, before we talk about pain we feel it is important to understand the role of proprioception.

Proprioception is the brain's ability to know where the body and limbs are in space. Through receptors located in the joints, the brain receives information from the movement, speed and position of the joint.It uses this information to react quickly to maintain the body's balance and keep the joints within their normal amplitudes of movement.

It is thus proprioception which prevents us from spraining our ankle whenever we walk over rock or an uneven surface. The brain sends a quick message to the muscles and makes them contract to correct the foot’s position to prevent over-extension and prevent injuries.

Often overlooked in rehabilitation and training, proprioception is nevertheless essential in the protection of joints. Proprioception helps prevent recurrence of injuries (sprains, dislocations, tendinitis ...), decrease chronic pain, improve balance, coordination and posture and increases athletic performance. Proprioceptive work also helps develop muscle strength, increase reaction time and speed of contraction. It also increases the level of body awareness and concentration in an athletic activity.

It is important to work on proprioception as soon as an injury occurs. When injured the proprioceptive receptors are damaged, become less effective and should be rehabilitated.

Proprioceptive rehabilitation requires little equipment and can be performed easily at home.

Your therapist will help guide you through the steps of a proprioceptive work-out.

The next blog will about pain and how the body reacts to pain.

Éliane Bousquet
Praticienne en ostéopathie, massothérapeute sportif et directrice du Centre Kinesis


Yanic Szoghy
Kinésithérapeute sportif et Directeur du Centre Kinesis