What Is Pain and Why Is It Important?
By Dr. Molly Casey
Pain is a part of life. Like it or not, I think it’s safe to say that at some point in everyone’s life they have (or will) experience some type of physical pain. There are periods in which pain is brief and allowing the pain to pass without intervention is doable. There are other times when it’s more constant, and to be able to move forward in life in the healthiest of manners, we need to address and try to modulate or decrease pain levels. While the foundation of chiropractic care is based upon promoting the health of the nervous (communication) system and overall functioning of the body, natural pain management is an amazing side effect.
What Is Pain?
When you think of pain, you think of physical discomfort of some sort, right? That’s a common thought pattern. As a doctor of chiropractic, I consider pain to be information. It’s feedback. That feedback is processed in the brain, not in the location where you perceive the pain.
The brain never sleeps. It is processing at all times, whether or not you’re conscious of this process. Your body has different receptors that send information up to the brain, and the one associated with pain are called nociceptors (although nociceptors are responsible for more than pain). When one is experiencing pain, it’s a sign that these receptors are activated and there is an issue of dysfunction at some level.
Do You Always Want To Knock Out Pain?
It’s human nature to not want to be in pain or physical discomfort. Obliterating pain is not always the greatest approach to pain management. Remember, pain is feedback. It’s telling us something, alerting us to the truth that there is an underlying level of malfunction.
Although many engage in a practice of simply getting rid of pain but not digging any deeper, there are two problems with this approach. The first problem is that one can decrease, mask, and/or eliminate the pain, so the problem itself is never addressed and it remains. While one may feel better immediately, it does nothing for the long-term correction, and it’s likely that the issue will then reappear because the root cause was never tended to.
The second problem with this practice is that when one experiences pain, the tendency is to do less because of the discomfort. For instance, pain from a rolled ankle may be strong enough to deter you from going for a run. To the degree that pain acts as a deterrent for certain activities is dependent upon the person and their pain threshold. However, it’s safe to say people generally do less activity when pain is present than when not.
Remember that pain is a sign of dysfunction at some level. When dysfunction occurs, it’s wise to alter or lighten behaviors and activities in order to allow sufficient healing time and/or enough space for care and treatment to take hold. When folks wipe out pain through whatever means necessary, they tend to return to the activities that got them there in the first place. Purely wiping out pain can make the problem worse.
Natural Pain Management
Sometimes pain is present for long enough periods in which it truly needs to be modulated so that suffering is decreased and the body minimally managed. When this is required, most conservative, natural pain management techniques are advisable as a first course of action. The least amount of intervention allows the body to follow its natural course of healing.
Although chiropractic adjustments primarily promote proper nervous (communication) system function and thus improve the foundational well-being of the body, an incredible side effect is that pain often goes away and/or minimizes. At The Joint Chiropractic, we focus on the regular chiropractic adjustment as part of a health and wellness routine in order to improve the quality of one’s life. The chiropractors here also help patients naturally decrease pain with the adjustment. Patients frequently discover chiropractic because of its ability to effectively manage acute and chronic pain, and they continue regular chiropractic care because of the role it plays in improving one’s overall health.
Don’t let pain ruin you or run your life. Do let pain serve as feedback. Do let pain guide you toward the chiropractor to get your spine and health checked.
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