This question is the reason why it can always be helpful to have your physio assess your ‘nerve pain’. True nerve pain is actually far less common than we think. True nerve pain also often far less serious than we think. Yes, there are instances where nerve pain can be serious which is all the more reason to see your physio and/or GP sooner rather than later as it is easier to treat and settle in the earlier stages. But in many cases, your ‘nerve pain’ might actually be referred pain.

Referred pain is essentially pain that travels or is experienced elsewhere in the body because the brain is unable to distinguish two different messages from different parts of the body and so interprets them both as pain. The common example of referred pain is the sensation of left shoulder pain during a cardiac event. The messages from the heart travel alongside the nerves of the left arm and so the brain interprets this as shoulder pain. Nerve pain, on the other hand, involves some sort of direct compromise to a neural structure like the peripheral nerves, nerve roots or spinal cord the produces a particular pattern of pain usually in addition to other nerve sign or symptoms such as tingling, numbness or weakness.

So if you primarily only have travelling pain then it is possible that your ‘nerve pain’ is actually referred pain. But let’s say that you do have nerve-type symptoms in addition to your travelling pain; is there a benefit in seeing a physio? The answer is YES. In many cases, a physio can help confirm your nerve pain, identify it’s type and location and assist in managing it. Now sometimes a physio will not be able to ‘cure’ or treat your nerve pain completely and this is where they can help direct you to other treatments, tests or specialist review. Regardless of whether you require other treatment, physiotherapy is still of huge benefit in helping you maintain and improve your function and advising you and what is good and not so good for you to be doing.

Many of the chronic or more affected clients we see who have nerve pain are often the ones who didn’t know what was good or not so good for them to be doing and so they did nothing which not only caused their symptoms to worsen but also caused them to decondition, becoming weaker and less able making their recovery longer still. Because of the complexity of the nervous system and the variability of nerve pain, there is no ‘One size fits all’ treatment which is why a thorough examination and individualised management program from your physio is highly recommended in order to speed up recovery.

If you think you may have nerve-related pain, you don’t have to put up with it. There is always something that can help.

If you would like you can make a booking with one of our experienced practitioners.