When you have an injury, more often than not, pain will be produced. However there are a couple of things to realise.
Firstly, not all injuries will produce pain.
Secondly, pain does not tell us just how bad the injury is (the amount of pain does not always correlate to the amount of damage).
Let me give you some examples.
There have been many stories told about people who get their arms or legs ripped off by a shark but don't feel any pain at the time. A 16 year old boy who lost his left arm stated "I’m thinking, ‘There’s no way this just happened, because there’s no pain,’” he said. “I didn’t feel anything.”
This is a perfect example of how pain is not related to the amount of damage. This boy had his arm RIPPED off for goodness sake but felt NO PAIN!
Ok so how about something where there is so little damage but causes a HUGE amount of pain?
Stubbing your toe? Or getting a papercut? Or for the parents out there….standing on a piece of Lego!
Holy moly! Even the thought of it makes me wince!
Anyway, the point is that, again, the amount of pain you experience does not necessarily relate to the amount of damage within the body. Pain is just not a very good damage indicator.
This is especially true when it comes to persistent pain. Even after an injury has healed we can still have pain. Lots of it. But there is no longer any damage to the tissues.
Did you know we can also have pain without any damage at all? (If you're a regular reader of my page then you will definitely have heard this before!)
Which is why some people who have lost limbs can still feel pain in the limb that they have lost. Yep. No limb. But they feel pain in the limb (that's called Phantom Limb Pain by the way).
Pain just tells us there is a threat to the body. This threat can be real. But it can also be perceived.
Didn't I tell you pain is super freakin' complex?!?