He’s coming for us all, but does he have to bring the pain?
Aging and chronic pain has become, unfortunately, synonymous, but there is good news: IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE. But here’s the catch, to keep the evils of father time at bay, we must act now. Personal responsibility is the most important tool in your belt when taking control of chronic pain, and all health issues for that matter. To conquer pain you have to understand what it is and what it is not. Pain is not useless. Pain is information. More specifically, pain is our emotional reaction to some sort of tissue damage within our body. Pain is a signal that something isn’t right. Despite how incredible your body is, with the trillions of reactions and processes going on inside of it every second of every day, one thing it can’t do is speak. It can’t say “Nick I really don’t like it when you spend an hour or two on your laptop, because I’m designed to move and the laptop puts me in a very difficult posture that ends up causing tissue damage at the spinal level, so please sit up straight, take breaks and use a desk top with the monitor at eye level, thank you.” I wish that was the case, but then maybe I’d be out of a job ;-p. So, instead, our bodies respond with the one communication strategy that they have: pain. In my case, as well as many people out there regarding computers, I get neck and shoulder pain with prolonged use. At first if we listen to our body and make changes (change our posture, stop using a laptop), the info (pain) stops, but if we ignore it or mask it (meds), it usually gets worse over time. This makes sense because we haven’t corrected the cause.
If pain goes on for a long time you can actually become even more susceptible to pain and things that shouldn’t hurt begin to hurt. Most of the time, this happens in a stressful state, when we are not eating (chemical), how we are supposed to, not moving (physical) how we are supposed to and under more emotional stress than we should be. Sound familiar? Stress from all categories (chemical, physical, emotional) is cumulative and hard hitting on the pain front and literally sensitizes us to stimulus that wouldn’t and shouldn’t cause us pain. We see this with older individuals because well, they’ve been around longer and have usually dealt or tried to mask their pain for a long time rather than correcting the cause. If this is you, don’t feel bad, our society has been taught to look for answers in potions, pills and lotions which hardly ever deal with the cause.
Finding and correcting the cause is your answer to most pain whether by taking your finger off a hot stove, or getting your spine adjusted to improve proper motion and exercising to strengthen your low back. Both work to fix the reason there is pain. Now with a hot stove the pain usually stops about as quickly as you remove your finger, but chronic nagging pain isn’t so easy. Because it has usually taken quite a bit of time to get to a chronic pain state, it can take some time to go away. Every person is different, but if we can lower your nutritional and emotional stress while correcting the damage at the joint and tissue level and teach you how to move your body so that you don’t recreate the damage, well then all you’ll need is time and you should get a new and pain free you.
- Get your spine checked. Since pain usually comes at the end of a problem get your foundation (musculo-skeletal and nerve system) checked by a chiropractor to find out if there are any physical stresses to correct.
- Exercise. Join a class and/or get a personal trainer. Walking alone can help reduce inflammation and pain in some cases.
- Begin taking a high quality Omega 3 supplement to address any dietary deficiencies and to decrease inflammation. Recommendations on types of high quality Omega 3 are Nordic Naturals, Bonfire Health or Innate Choice (1000mg per 50 pounds of body weight) consult your doctor if on any blood thinning medications. For your own convience, you can shop here:
- Attend our free Ergonomics & Movement workshop to learn and practice good posture as well as find out what activities may be contributing to your pain. June 20th @ 630pm at Innate Fitness on 360 S. Hope Ave Suite C105. Santa Barbara, CA 93105. Call 805-682-4620 to reserve a spot.
Change 4 Health!
-Dr. Nick Araza DC CCWP CFL1-Trainer