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  • Writer's pictureNashville PT

What happens if you ignore the pain and don't go to PT?

(black & white photo of man with pain in neck/shoulder area and low back)

When it comes to pain, turning a blind eye can have serious consequences. Ignoring pain and neglecting to seek appropriate treatment can lead to prolonged recovery, muscle imbalances, loss of function, and even chronic pain. In this blog post, we will explore the potential consequences of ignoring pain and highlight the crucial role of physical therapy in addressing discomfort. So, let's dive in and discover why listening to your body and seeking proper care, including physical therapy, is essential for your well-being.

Let's start first with what pain actually is...

Pain is a complex and subjective experience that can be challenging to define precisely. However, it can generally be described as an unpleasant sensation or discomfort that we perceive in response to actual or potential tissue damage. Pain is your body's way of alerting you that something is wrong or out of balance.

Imagine pain as your body's alarm system, designed to protect and alert you. When there is actual or potential harm to your body, such as an injury or inflammation, pain receptors in the affected area send signals to your brain. These signals are like messages that tell your brain there is a problem. The brain then interprets these messages and generates the feeling of pain.

It's important to understand that pain is not always a direct reflection of the extent of tissue damage. Sometimes, even minor injuries can cause significant pain, while in other cases, severe tissue damage may result in minimal pain. This is because pain is influenced by various factors, including your emotions, previous experiences, and even your thoughts.

Your pain experience is unique to you, and it can be influenced by many factors, such as stress, anxiety, and your overall well-being. That's why it's important to approach pain management holistically, considering both physical and emotional aspects. Remember, our goal is not just to mask or suppress the pain but to address the root causes and empower you with tools and techniques to manage and reduce pain effectively.

So what can happen if I just ignore the pain?

1. Prolonged Recovery Time:

By brushing off pain and avoiding treatment, you risk prolonging your recovery time. Without targeted intervention, the underlying issue causing the pain may not resolve on its own. Physical therapy can provide the necessary guidance and techniques to promote healing and optimize your recovery.

2. Development of Compensatory Movements or Habits:

Ignoring pain can lead to the adoption of compensatory movements or habits to avoid discomfort. These adaptations can place additional stress on other areas of your body, potentially leading to new injuries or aggravating existing ones. Addressing the underlying cause of pain through physical therapy can help break these compensatory patterns and restore proper movement.

3. Muscle Imbalances and Weakness:

Pain often leads to decreased activity and movement avoidance, resulting in muscle imbalances and weakness. This imbalance can further contribute to dysfunction, pain, and limitations in daily activities. Physical therapy can address muscle imbalances through targeted exercises and therapeutic techniques, helping you regain strength and restore balance.

4. Loss of Function and Mobility:

Ignoring pain can gradually diminish your functional abilities and mobility. Without intervention, your body may become more restricted in movement, making it increasingly challenging to perform everyday tasks or participate in activities you enjoy. Physical therapy aims to improve your overall mobility and functional capacity, allowing you to regain independence and confidently engage in daily activities.

5. Increased Risk of Further Injury:

Pain is your body's way of signaling that something is wrong. Ignoring it can put you at a higher risk of sustaining additional injuries. By seeking timely physical therapy, you can identify and address the underlying causes of pain, learn proper movement techniques, and reduce the risk of further damage.

6. Chronic Pain Development:

Untreated or unmanaged pain can sometimes evolve into chronic pain, which can significantly impact your quality of life. Chronic pain is often more challenging to treat and may require more intensive interventions. Seeking early intervention through physical therapy can help prevent the progression to chronic pain and enhance your overall well-being.

The Role of Physical Therapy in Addressing Pain

Physical therapy plays a vital role in addressing pain and promoting optimal recovery. Through a personalized treatment plan, a physical therapist will assess your condition, identify the root cause of your pain, and develop a comprehensive approach to alleviate discomfort. This may include a combination of manual therapy, therapeutic exercises, stretching, and other specialized techniques tailored to your specific needs.

Listening to your body and seeking appropriate care is crucial when it comes to managing pain. Ignoring pain can lead to prolonged recovery, muscle imbalances, loss of function, and an increased risk of chronic pain development. By prioritizing your well-being and seeking early intervention, such as physical therapy, you can address pain effectively, improve your quality of life, and regain the freedom to engage in the activities you love. Don't let pain hold you back—reach out to our expert team at Nashville Physical Therapy & Performance and take the first step towards a pain-free future.


- American Physical Therapy Association. (2021). Guide to Physical Therapist Practice. Retrieved from

- Geneen, L. J., Moore, R. A., Clarke, C., Martin, D., Colvin, L. A., & Smith, B. H. (2017). Physical activity and exercise for chronic pain in adults: an overview of Cochrane Reviews. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 1(1), CD011279. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD011279.pub3

- Roach, S. M., & Sanborn, C. F. (2011). Acute and chronic musculoskeletal pain. In W. E. Prendergast & S. Mackey (Eds.), Integrative Pain Medicine: The Science and Practice of Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Pain Management (pp. 47-64). Springer.

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