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Pain is our Friend

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Senior woman in gym wearing wrist strap, rubbing shoulder

Pain’s job is to alert us when something is not right. Just as you trust your closest friends to tell you when something is amiss (maybe you have a piece of spinach in your teeth or you have a brake light out on your car), pain is that trusted friend to let us know that something is wrong.

We live in an age where we have mastered the art of numbing physical pain fast. At the first sign, we quickly reach for pain relief. Painkillers work their magic by altering our perception, but not actually curing the problem. Or, we tell ourselves to just wait it out, certainly it’s not serious and the pain will go away.

For example, if you are experiencing low back pain and continue to ignore it, you may develop tissue damage such as tendonitis, or loss of cartilage, or bone compression in the vertebra, or a pinched nerve. Your body was under stress the whole time, and you did not become aware of that until it had progressed into the stage of depleting your body’s resources to cope with it: literally destroying cells that maintain your ability to function. The fact that pain can arise without visible damage to the body is testimony to its most important benefit—it is a warning system to protect our bodies from damage.

Once you start to experience pain, the root cause of this pain is in the advanced stages of the injury. One of things I often say to people is ‘why don’t you wait until it really hurts before you come in to see about it.” If you work a desk job, you are likely to have repetitive motion types of injuries in your arms or shoulders, or you might experience low back pain because you sit eight hours a day. All of this will take a toll and you will soon experience pain. You can come in as soon as the pain starts (or preferably, come in on a maintenance basis}, or you can wait until it really hurts.

The earlier we can identify the root cause of your pain, the quicker you can be out of pain through manipulation and rehabilitation exercises. However, if you wait until it really hurts, you could be doing more damage to your injured area. Remember, pain is our friend, you should listen to it!

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