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Your Pain is not the Problem

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By: Dr. Stephen O’Neil

Everyday in my practice at Active Living Chiropractic, I treat people in some sort of discomfort or pain. Most of these patients come to my office solely for relief of their pain. I try to explain to each and every patient that walks through my door, that their pain is most definitely not their problem. What I mean by this is simple. Pain is created by the body to alert the brain there is a problem. Therefore the pain is merely a symptom of an underlying issue. Pain is created by the body in response to negative stimuli on the body. This stimuli may be traumatic in nature, causing tissue damage which stimulates pain response in the brain. The stimuli may be from some disease state which results in a deficiency and once again some sort of internal or external tissue damage. However, the stimuli resulting in pain may be as simple as a physical, chemical, or mental/emotional stressor. Any way you look at it, the pain is not the problem. The problem is the stimuli causing the pain.

Most of us however focus on the pain. We use our pain as some sort of measuring stick to gauge how well we are. By focusing on our symptoms we miss the big picture as it relates to our health. Pain is in fact one of the last symptoms to show up and one of the first to go away with treatment. So the absence of pain is really of no significance in regards to our health. How then should we measure the state of our health? The most effective measure of how healthy we are is in how well we function, not how good we feel.

The function of our circulatory system, our cardiovascular system, our endocrine system, and our digestive system all give a great indication as to how healthy we are. The greatest measure however, is the function of our nervous system. The nervous system is what controls and directs the function of all the other systems and is ultimately responsible for the state of our health. Achieving optimal health can only come when one maximizes the function of their nervous system. For the nervous system to function properly, the spine must have full range of motion and be properly aligned. The alignment of your spine can be evaluated by your chiropractor. Chiropractors are trained to find restrictions or misalignments in the vertebrae of the spine called subluxations. These subluxations cause interference in the communication and proper function of the nervous system and therefore have a negative effect on our health.

Chiropractors locate and eliminate subluxations in the spine. In doing so, the nervous system is better able to control and direct the overall function of the body. This is the only way our health potential can be reached. Your body is under constant stress on a day-to-day basis and stress comes in many forms as mentioned before. It is these stresses that have negative effects on our body and cause subluxations in our spine. Since we all have stress, we all need to do things to reduce this stress and counteract its negative effects. Eating healthy, exercising, and getting adjusted regularly are all part of achieving and maintaining optimal health. Regular chiropractic adjustments not only reduce interference in the nervous system but also promote maximal overall function and health.

The next time you experience pain or some other symptom, take time to realize that the pain is not the problem. Addressing the pain with medications or pain specific therapy does nothing to fix the underlying issue. The actual malfunction in your system which is responsible for your symptoms must be identified and corrected in order to have relief and optimize function. The way to optimize and maintain health is through regular chiropractic adjustments. It is an important part of a healthy lifestyle.