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Understanding Pain

As physical therapists we commonly ask patients about pain they are experiencing. We may ask you to quantify your pain on a scale from 0-10. We may also ask you to describe your pain. Is it achy? Is it sharp? Is it shooting? These questions can be hard for some patients due to the variability in their pain levels throughout the day or week. Pain is described by the International Association for the Study of Pain as “an unpleasant sensory or emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage.” Let’s break this definition down to further understand your pain: It’s an unpleasant sensory experience. This is the easiest concept to understand because most of us have all experie

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