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By Brian Jones, Doctor of Chiropractic

What is pain?
Pain occurs when the brain is alerted to damage, or the threat of damage, to the body. It’s
meaning is ‘THREAT’ and it is designed to motivate action to protect the body. Its job is to
prevent us from harming ourselves.
It certainly feels like something that is happening to you, but in fact pain is an output from
brain NOT an input.

What causes pain?

Pain is incredibly complex. There are many factors that can come together to create pain.
The nervous system provides constant feedback on what is going on in the body. Some of the
triggers for pain are:
• Inflammation in tissues
• Mechanical changes to tissue
• Temperature
• Changes to the immune system, hormones
• Our thoughts
• Our beliefs
It’s important to realise that pain does NOT have to mean damage. It can be related to
damage but often the correlation between pain and damage is far from clear. This
misconception leads to many myths around pain….

Myths surrounding musculoskeletal pain:

1. Structural changes do not necessarily correlate with pain (arthritis, disc bulges etc).
Many people have disc bulges, arthritic changes, muscle tears etc, but do not
experience pain.
2. The link between supposed posture and pain is weak. Most talk about posture
appears to actually refer to a military, ‘shoulders back‘ position! Posture is dynamic
and is about using your skeleton to support you.
3. Imaging is NOT useful for uncomplicated musculoskeletal pain1. You ALWAYS find
things with imaging but are they relevant? Words matter!! Much of the language used
in reports is alarming and creates fear around movement and lifestyle. We now talk
of V.O.M.I.T. or Victims of Medical Imaging Technology!

Imaging is actively discouraged unless i.e. serious pathology is suspected, ii. there is an unexplained
progression of symptoms, iii. it is likely to change the patient’s plan of management.

Brian Jones DC,

So, what is the solution? MOVEMENT!
Your nervous system is a dense, spiders web of nerves that requires a lot of ‘feeding’ to keep
it healthy. The nutrition comes from the blood and whilst there is a passive flow of nutrition,
movement plays a critical role in keeping the nervous system healthy.
The key to managing the feelings of shoulder, neck and arm tension in the office, is to ensure
that you regularly move to keep the nerves of those areas healthily supplied with nutrition.
It’s like thirst. You don’t save up your feelings of thirst for one big drink at the end of the day.
You ‘sip’ regularly during the day, when thirsty. We need to have the same approach to the
aches and pains of sitting in front of a desk. i.e. When we ache M O V E!

Useful movements during the day:

1. Nose writing – gentle ‘drawing’ of numbers 0-10 with nose
2. Seated arching and slumping – gentle, whole spine movement
3. Seated ‘twists’ of spine – gently rotation of whole spine (pull elbow, push knee)
4. Buttock shuffle – ‘walk’ buttocks from back to front of chair and back again

Take home messages:

• “Motion is Lotion” – Movement is Medicine.

• Make movement a part of your daily life.
• Don’t wait until you feel pain, prevent it by Moving regularly.
• Exercise is really, really important, but don’t forget to just move.
• Pay attention to feelings in the body. If you are feeling tight and a bit sore, then do
something about it. MOVE. Don’t ignore it and hope it goes away.
• Get up and do something at lunch time. Don’t eat at your desk.
• Make use of the office space to move at various times during the day.

Lin, I., Wiles, L., Waller, R., et al. (2019). What does best practice care for musculoskeletal pain look like? Eleven
consistent recommendations from high-quality clinical practice guidelines: Systematic review. British Journal of
Sports Medicine. Br J of Sports Med -2018. 10.1136/bjsports-2018-099878. Ted Talk on Pain by Professor Lorimer Moseley
Explain Pain Supercharged by Prof G. Lorimer Moseley and Dr David S. Butler
Other articles and references can be supplied if required.

Brian Jones DC,