Common causes of pain
Everyone has experienced pain at some point in their lives. Whether it’s minor or intense pain, we all know that it is not a pleasant experience. Pain can come from many different places, at many different times, and for many different reasons. Pain is not normal so what matters most is that we listen to that pain and find out why we are getting it in the first place.
In this week’s blog we are going to cover types of pain, what causes it and some ways to treat it.
Types of Pain
There are two ways to classify pain: acute or chronic. Acute pain can be just as intense as chronic pain, the only difference is the length of time a person has pain. Acute pain is pain that occurs when right after an injury. It usually goes away once the injury is healed or fixed. Acute pain can turn into chronic pain if 1) the initial injury isn’t addressed and 2) the pain lasts longer than 4 weeks. Chronic pain is defined as pain that remains present for longer than four weeks. This type of pain is associated more often with chronic health conditions rather than every day injuries.
What Causes Pain?
Pain can be caused by many things; stubbing your toe, car crashes, breaking a bone, throwing out your back, developing a chronic illness, having poor posture, eating an unhealthy diet, chronic stress and more. Our brain is a very complex organ; it is constantly working to solve issues, keep the body alive, interpret sensory input, execute motor output and more. Therefore, when our body is injured from either a small or large trauma, our brain takes that signal as a survival signal. Once the brain receives this signal it enters a physical and chemical change where it works with the body to try and combat that injury. One of the main responses is inflammation. This is why when you get a cut, it begins to turn red and hot. Our body works in multiple ways to try and combat the effects that pain brings and works to try and bring the pain down. However, sometimes the pain can be too intense and the body takes longer to work against it. This may be the point when individuals become tired of being in pain and end up looking for ways to manage their pain.
The Science Behind Pain Medication
When someone experiences pain, usually the first thing that they do is reach for an over the counter solution. While this method may work for some, there is more to understand about taking pain medications. In fact, pain medication does not remove or treat a person’s pain, instead it just simply alters the person’s perception of the pain. In other words, when someone takes a pain medication, that medication does not remove the pain instead it blocks the receptors in the brain that register pain. So in a sense, your body is still in stress but your brain is ignoring it. Further injuries may happen or the initial injury may get worse because now that pain signal is being blocked. With this in mind, it is important to first understand why you are in pain so that the source of the pain can be fixed, not just covered up with medications.
Ways to Treat Pain
Everyone’s perception of pain is different. Some people experience pain more intensely, while other people can go about their daily lives seemingly unaffected by pain. Therefore, certain pain managing techniques may work for some, but not for all. In some cases people are prescribed pain medication by their physician due to the pain that they are experiencing affecting their daily lives. Remember though, it is not fixing anything just helping them manage it. That’s why this medical approach is called “Pain Management.”
However, for those who prefer to do without medications, here are some alternative ways to treating pain.
Chiropractic is one of those ways. Our bodies have an inner or innate ability to heal itself but it needs the right environment. Spinal or postural misalignments can cause pain and dysfunction to the body and nervous system. Chiropractic adjustments tap into that healing ability by restoring normal movement and brings balance back to the nervous system. This allows the brain and body (and vice versa) to communicate faster and with ease resulting in not only pain relief but also helps the patient’s body function at its best.
Acupuncture is another alternative for pain. The needles produce a small signal to the body so that it responds with increased circulation to that area. It helps to bring back balance to the body.
Massage therapy is also used for pain relief. It is a relaxing way to de-stress and help ease tired and fatigued muscles. However, the relief may be temporary if the underlying reason for their pain isn’t identified.
As I mentioned earlier, pain is not normal. It is your body’s way of trying to get your attention. Don’t ignore it or continue to cover it up with medications. Talk to your healthcare provider about any pain you have had or are currently experiencing.