Pain is the number one reason people seek medical care. It is an important protective mechanism that helps the body avoid injury and alerts us to any potential problems. Unfortunately, this vital bodily sensation can become a problem when it becomes chronic.
Chronic pain is defined as pain that lasts greater than 6 weeks. Oftentimes, pain continues to linger even after an injury has healed. Additionally, a traumatic event or certain health conditions (like Fibromyalgia or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) can lead to the onset of pain despite any measurable physical injury.
The problem with chronic pain.
Pain alters the way our bodies function and puts a burden on the entire system. It temporarily limits our mental capacity, decreases tolerance for daily activity, and leads to imbalanced movement patterns that all affect overall quality of life and participation in daily life. These issues are what make proper injury recovery and optimized overall health ideal for avoiding the complications that come with chronic pain.
When generalized, aching pain becomes a norm for life, it can lead to a feeling of hopelessness. There are many theories surrounding what causes chronic pain, but there is one factor that all experts agree on. The pain signals that the nerves are sending to the brain become dysfunctional or even overactive. Essentially they are signaling the brain that there is pain when there isn’t any direct stimulus. Additionally, the brain can play a role in the perception of the signal its receiving.
Risk factors for developing chronic pain:
The following factors can play a role in developing chronic pain:
- Mental health
- Past injury and trauma
- Inflammatory diseases
- Poor general health
Chronic pain is a widely stigmatized health issue that often leads to patients being blown off by their physicians because their symptoms aren’t well understood in traditional medicine. It leads to palliative care and the prescribing of a wide variety of medications that affect quality of life and have some major side effects.
Yet, the truth of the matter is that there is a very real perception of pain going on in the body and brain, regardless of what is causing it. This is why more alternative treatments like psychotherapy, acupuncture, chiropractic care, massage therapy, and physical therapy tend to have better long term results.
How chiropractic care can make a difference.
Chronic pain all comes down to a disconnect between the nerves detecting pain and the body due to overactive neural pathways and stimulus. When nerve energy is compromised and out of sync, the root issue needs to be addressed. This is why Chiropractic BioPhysics (CBP) is a recommended option for managing chronic pain because it can address any underlying issues related to spine alignment that are affecting nerve integrity.
Treatment is non-invasive with a focus on soft tissue mobilization, education (key for chronic pain), manipulation, exercise, stretching, and more. A CBP practitioner can provide much needed relief with a notoriously difficult and stigmatized health condition.