Chronic pain is defined as pain lasting more than three months in duration. More than a third of the North American population (approx. 113 million people) suffers from some form of chronic pain. Pain is a thief! Nothing robs the joy and happiness out of life more than persistent pain and nagging discomfort. Chronic pain makes life miserable! It in many cases leads to hopelessness for individuals and families coping with the condition. “Hope deferred makes the heart grow sick.” (Prov.13:12)
Chronic Pain Causes
Chronic pain can be traced back to many different causes and triggers. Current understanding of those who study the science of pain, interpret that most chronic pain sufferers began with a single physical or even an emotional trauma. The body responds to this trauma via muscle tightness and spasms for defense and protection. Additionally, unaddressed causes and conditions manifest as chronic pain. Emotional centers in the brain and nervous system share the same pathway as physical pain. This leads to a downward spiral of pain patterns as the chronic pain sufferer becomes more and more stressed and burdened with more pain that goes unresolved with pills and drugs.
Are Prescriptions Really The Solution?
One of the biggest challenges for chronic pain sufferers stems from the standard recommendations that treatment comes in the form of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or opioid drugs. These substances provide temporary relief, but make pain worse in the long run and create dependency on chemical intervention. Strong drugs simply numb the brain to the existence of pain. Yet, it is known that there are common neurological patterns associated with chronic pain that become more permanent if the causes go unaddressed. Physical causes and emotional pathways both need to be addressed in order to achieve full recovery from inflammatory conditions.
Research for Chiropractic
Research conducted in 2015 compared and evaluated the effectiveness of NSAID drugs, acupuncture, and Chiropractic adjustments on those suffering with chronic pain. Patients in the study group receiving Chiropractic care experienced chronic spinal pain longer on average than the subjects who received acupuncture and NSAID drugs (they chose to give the patients that were considered to be the toughest to get any results, to the Chiropractic group). Chiropractic adjustments delivered three times greater relief than acupuncture and five times greater relief than NSAID drugs. The science proved that Chiropractic care influences the autonomic (I call it the automatic nervous system-loosely its responsible for the stuff that you don’t think about eg. Heart beating etc…)nervous system in ways that many other interventions and therapies do not. Any solid treatment plans for chronic pain (using evidence based research) MUST include Chiropractic care.
Inflammation and Chronic Pain
Inflammation is another important aspect of chronic pain. Lifestyle choices (such as diet modifications) that help avoid or reduce inflammation prove critical for chronic pain sufferers. Movement also plays an essential role in conquering chronic pain. Motion is lotion for the spine and body. A vital part of chronic pain recovery involves moving the entire body and all muscle systems.
Four tips to reduce chronic pain include:
1) Spinal and Nervous System Care (Chiropractic)
2) Anti-Inflammatory Nutrition
3) Movement (Exercise)
4) Mindfulness – rhythmic breathing, gratitude, and meditation
Chiropractic helps resolve pain in more ways than one. Better movement and alignment in the spine allows for greater autonomic nervous system function. A balanced nervous system plays a large part in overcoming pain patterns and immediately helps sufferers begin to be active again. Feelings of hope and positivity provide a springboard for committing to a successful chronic pain recovery plan. A combination of Chiropractic care and other lifestyle components offer hope for healing and a better quality of life for those suffering from chronic pain.
Medical Hypotheses, December 2015
“Measureable changes in the neuro-endocrinal mechanism following spinal manipulation.”
K. Kovanur Sampath, R.Mani, J.D. Cotter, S.Tumilty.