back or lumbar pain

Everybody experiences pain, but what exactly is pain and how do we measure it? Developing a common scale to identify levels of pain is difficult considering that everyone has a slightly different physical response to pain stimuli. Scientists define pain as “an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage.”1 However, this may be outdated thinking.

Here are a few things you need to know:

  1. Scientists no longer think of pain as an actual measure of tissue damage.2 Consider deep tissue damage such as a bullet wound, which is often painless, when compared to a superficial cut on the skin, which can be unreasonably painful. Why does this happen? With superficial injuries, the nerve endings are sending loud signals to the brain that something is wrong, whereas with deep injuries these nerve signals can be paralyzed or severed.2
  2. Pain is so much more than just a sensation or physical manifestation. It is a subjective experience. For instance, on a scale of 0–10 (0 being no pain, 10 being unbearable pain), a paper cut might be rated as 2 for one person and 5 for another. Both individuals are in pain, but their experience is different.
  3. Psychology plays a part in how the body interprets pain. What about people who are in pain, but have no actual tissue damage? This usually stems from the psychological interpretation of pain signals.3 Based on the subjective recollection alone, it is impossible to distinguish psychological pain from pain due to tissue damage. Even though we most often correlate pain with injury, there are many causes of pain that do not stem from actual tissue damage or pain that persists once the tissue has healed. This does not mean that the pain is not real, rather, it may imply that the pain pathway is continuously being activated in the absence of any damage.




  • Livingston WK. What is pain? Scientific American. 1953;188(3):59-67.

Gatchel RJ, Peng YB, Peters ML, Fuchs PN, Turk DC. The biopsychosocial approach to chronic pain: scientific advances and future directions. Psychological Bulletin. 2007;133(4):581.

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Royal York Chiropractic and Massage Therapy (416) 233-5413
4.9 6
Dundas Street West Toronto Ontario M8X 1Y3
  • I started going to Dr. Marco back in January 2020 when I was suffering a lower back injury. After seeing the reviews on google, I decided to give him a chance and I haven't looked back. Dr. Marco has helped me in my recovery and brought me back to feeling healthier than ever. He is extremely knowledgeable, kind and easy to talk too. Not to mention, the prices are very reasonable and not overpriced. I highly recommend him to anyone looking for a chiropractor in Etobicoke.
  • Royal York Chiropractic was recommended to me by multiple people, so I decided to give it a go for my back and shoulder problems. My first experience with Dr. Marco was extremely positive. He is very knowledgeable and easy to talk to. His honesty and commitment to improving my pain is what kept me coming back. Very positive experience!
  • I have been seeing Dr. Marco for many years now and he helps me each time I see him. He’s friendly, knowledgeable and has a level of clinical awareness that comes from years of experience which helps to create an overall positive interaction. Making appointments is never an issue and the clinic environment is welcoming and relaxing. Highly recommend him!
  • I have had very positive experiences with Royal York Chiropractic. While Dr. Peter has predominantly been overseeing my care, I have had adjustments with Dr. Marco as well. Both are competent, caring, friendly and willing to answer questions. Anna keeps the office well-organized and the few times I've had to wait, it has never been for long.
  • I have been seeing Dr. Marco for a few years now and he helps me every time. His adjustments are precise and effective, he knows what he is doing. He can be aggressive or as gentle as you need. Appointments have never been an issue, he always works around my schedule. I would highly recommend him!