High pain threshold and explaining it

My second post...

I wonder if anyone else has the same. I’ve aspergers and ADHD and an extremely high pain threshold, it is good in one way considering how wild and exited I am and love doing a lot of sports but recently I had quite a nasty car crash that at the time I felt a bit stiff afterwards and wound up but fine, then a few months after I noticed that my neck and back were getting very very stiff. I paid to go see a lovely physiotherapist locally and she agreed that I had done some damage.

Her first question, so, where do you feel the pain and rate it from 0-10. Told her that I can’t do that as I just know that something isn’t right, I just know that I’m wrong. She a verykind and gentle lady and patient with me not liking touching that much, but still after quite a few sessions my neck and mid back still aren’t right and I’m struggling to explain to her what is wrong and how I feel. She fixed my knee very fast as she could see and hear the damaged tendons moving underneath her hand.

Anyone else with similar experience and able to help me help the Physio fix me, I don’t want to be turning into a broken person.....

  • Perhaps you should get some sort of a scan, such as an X-ray or MRI, to find out exactly where the damage is. You may need several different scans, as X-rays, for example, will not pick up soft tissue damage. It's possible that the damage from the crash caused your vertebrae to fuse together or something.

  • Hyposensitivity is common in Autism. I have a pretty high pain threshold. I've broken my hands multiple times, my ankle and had several lacerations without noticing. I'd take DragonCat's advice though when I broke my ankle I didn't find out until it kept "locking up" years later. I now have a few bone spurs I'm waiting to be removed. 

  • I also have a high pain threshold and therefore struggle to communicate what I am experiencing at times, for example, when I tore my ACL I walked it off and could only state that ‘it just doesn’t feel right’, which meant my injury was misdiagnosed as a sprain for a number of months.

    The only things I have found that have helped is being upfront about the issues. So, if I see a medical professional I tell them, from the off that I have a high pain threshold, and when I receive dubious responses to that I describe my previous injuries and how they went misdiagnosed due to me not demonstrating enough pain at the time! I then tell them categorically that I can’t rate my pain out of ten, because that just doesn’t make sense to my brain (there’s no point pretending I understand it, or making an answer up because it doesn’t help either of us). I also advise them not to look for pain on my face when examining me, and instead to ask me if I feel it, because it won’t show on my face.

    I then describe what I can, in exacting terms e.g. I say exactly how the injury occurred, what I experienced at the time and afterwards, what I could or couldn’t do at the time and afterwards, whether there was swelling, bruising etc., whether I felt or heard anything (like a pop), what makes my pain worse or better, what sort of pain I have (burning, aching, stabbing, shooting etc.) and sometimes i’ll even state what I personally think the problem is (but only if I’m quite sure). I usually find that this provides enough information for the medical professional to make a diagnosis, but if they still couldn’t and it was a problem like yours then as others have advised I would request a scan. If that found nothing then I’d look for alternative relief, e.g. I see a chiropractor for my back pain as a physio couldn’t help in the end.

    I hope you get this all sorted out soon, as neck/back problems are most unpleasant.

  • Thank you all, very helpful replies. A good session with the Physio today made better with the advice from your posts and then she had looked up into other ways of assessing pain in ‘different’ individuals. Feeling good and on the way to recovery today