What’s The cause of my pain?
Have you ever woke up with terrible neck pain that seemed to appear out of the blue? Maybe one day you were going about your own business when suddenly you got stabbed by an invisible knife in your back? You say to yourself, “where did this come from; I didn’t even do anything?” One of the most common questions I get is, “where did this pain come from doc?” So, let’s dive right in and answer this mystery!
I’m always amazed by pioneers and forward thinkers whose theories are way before their time. Dr. D.D. Palmer is one of those visionaries; it was he who founded the Chiropractic profession in 1895. He often spoke on the causes of dis-ease (when the body is not at ease) and claimed that it could really all be summarized with the three T’s: 1. Thoughts, 2. Trauma, and 3. Toxins. Let’s expand on each of Dr. Palmer’s three propagators of dysfunction in the body.
THOUGHTS. Can thoughts really cause you pain? Think of it this way; when you are really stressed out, do you carry it in your neck and shoulders? Do you get tension headaches when you just have too much on your plate? There are a lot of physiological effects from stress, but ultimately the way we interpret our surroundings through our thought process can actually create pain. Another example that comes to mind is the strong link between depression and pain. When life has us feeling down and our outlook is dismal, it’s extremely common to begin experiencing a physical component of our negative thoughts through pain.
TRAUMA. Trauma may be the most obvious of the three T’s, but there are probably more examples of trauma that you may initially be considering. It’s clear that car accidents, sports injuries, or other insults to our musculoskeletal system cause direct damage to the body’s tissues and hence may result in pain. These type of injuries happen in a specific moment in time. However, some traumas to the body occur over a more lengthy time-span.
Imagine your posture in this very moment while you are reading this article. I know, you are probably the exception right? But, just think of everyone else that isn’t as perfect as you: rounded shoulders, head jutting forward, slouching…we’re all Quasimodo in the making! The sustained pulling and compressing of our muscles, ligaments, fascia, tendons, and joints are a slow and constant trauma. What about the factory worker or the athlete the repeats the same movements over and over again? Is your office chair, desk, and computer a perfect example of the gold standard in ergonomics? Probably not. How long have you been limping on that bad knee or compensating for that old, injured shoulder? Long time? Well, again these are all examples of sustained trauma to the body over a period of time.
TOXINS. The word toxins in this context can be thought of as harmful substances that we put into our bodies. There are other forms of poisons and noxious chemicals that we breathe in or are exposed to in some manner, but their influence doesn’t compare to the devastation that can be caused by a poor diet. The foods and drinks that we allow to enter our bodies are not only bad enough to directly cause pain by increasing inflammation, but can also create nutritional deficiencies in the chemicals our muscles need to maintain proper tone and create coordinated movement.
Many people that have been in chronic pain for years are surprised when they finally achieve a pain free lifestyle through healthy eating habits. So wait, does that mean there is a whole new special diet to get out of pain? In short, no. Healthy eating habits that include a surplus of vegetables, healthy fats, and lean protein sources not only properly fuel the musculoskeletal system, but also create a healthy chemical environment within the body that is naturally anti-inflammatory.
What foods increase inflammation and pain in the body? They are basically the ones that you typically imagine as being bad for you: trans fat, excess saturated fat, refined sugars, enriched & bleached flours, high fructose corn syrup, or in other words most fast foods, packaged foods, and sugar drinks.
So, have you figured out which of the three T’s is probably causing your pain? If you are like most people you are thinking, “well shoot, I have a problem in all those areas!” When it comes down to it, our pain is usually the product of a combination of factors. When you’ve just been in an accident, we can be confident that the direct trauma caused the pain. When pain seems to appear from nowhere, it’s not as mystical as it may have seemed before you read this newly found knowledge.
Most of the time it’s something little that may push us over the edge into conscious pain. The proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back is aptly appropriate in this scenario. We may have old injuries, poor posture, poor diets and our bodies are just teetering on a flare up of pain when suddenly we turn just right or sleep in a poor position and whamo!, there’s the pain.
The next logical question is how should the pain be treated? This is a question that can be greatly convoluted by what might be called the three P’s: philosophy, politics, and profits. That is another article though; suffice it to say that what we perceive to be the best treatment for pain has often been comprehensively shaped by those in high places with allegiance to their three P’s. In summary though, any true treatment should aim to get to the root of the cause. If the pain is the result of poor posture, fix the posture. If the pain is due to stress, pursue a stress management protocol. If the pain is due to poor diet, you guessed it, change your diet. As a Chiropractic Physician I deal on a daily basis in creating proper movement of the joints and muscles that have been the victims of thoughts, trauma, and toxins. Our goal is to not only restore proper motion and decrease pain, but to expose the initiating culprit of our dis-ease.
Call us at (435) 635-7771 today.