You Don’t Just Wake Up WIth Pain!!

This title may seem like it is a lie, but the majority of the time, it is true. I will say you do wake up with pain, but this pain isn’t just coming out of nowhere. What I mean by this is the pain you are experiencing in the morning or throughout the day has been with you for days, weeks, months, or sometimes even years. The body is very good at compensating because this allows you to go about your everyday tasks. The body/brain does not like being in pain or off-balance, so these compensation mechanisms will enable the brain to carry out day-to-day activities. However, as we have mentioned previously if you ignore something for too long, it will eventually come back with a vengeance. This phenomenon explains what is happening with many of our symptoms, pain is no exception. Let’s delve more into this a little more. 

Like we talked about last week, pain is really experienced in the brain, and it is up to the mind to interpret painful stimuli (nociception) into such characteristics as location, intensity, etc. It is also important to note that old injuries such as back & neck pain, hips, shoulders, are created from the compensation mechanism(s). 

To draw on a lesson from a past post entitled “Balance” we learned that proper eye and neck movements create what is termed as a compensation mechanism. Compensation mechanisms allow us to look at what we want to see in the world. This sounds like a good idea, and it can be for a limited time, but this will eventually create neck pain even though the neck is designed for constant movement (170,000 times a day). 

A deeper understanding can be obtained if one views the pain that you are experiencing as a culmination of events leading up to the experienced sensation. Again, these events can be in the form of past injuries, overuse injuries, or compensation mechanisms. Also, in hindsight, we would find  the body had been trying to inform you of the need for self-care. Some of these signs could be feelings of tightness or stiffness in a particular body part or just globally, and decreased functioning or range of motion (ROM) of an area or body part. It is when all of these signs come together, and the brain cannot handle them anymore, that we start having more pain or pain symptoms. 

Short term, or what we call acute pain, isn’t necessarily a bad thing because it brings more attention to the area. Acute pain is telling you there is tissue damage, and we need to handle that area more carefully for the time being. Of course, we don’t care for pain that lasts for days, weeks, months, or years in which is typed as chronic pain. When pain is chronic our brain also suffers gaps within its mapping system that correlates to a certain area in the body. When this happens, it causes even more issues. 

We have talked about brain maps in the past (where our brains have a map of the entire body), but when we have increases in pain these maps get distorted and can cause even more pain or instability to that area. Some of the best ways to prevent any of this from happening is to listen to our bodies, take action when we do have any injuries, and preventative care such as chiropractic neurology. 

How pain can create other issues:

–    Chronic pain causes an increase in tissues damage 

–    The more pain = decreases in our brain maps. Remember, these maps allow us to sense where our bodies are in space and when we cannot it creates balance issues, clumsiness, and instability in that area. 

–    When we have pain, it causes increases in compensation mechanisms, which eventually leads to more pain and instability in other body areas.

–    Movement is the best way to update our body maps; if we have pain, we tend not to use that area, and this causes less movement in that area ( causes a bad cycle over and over).

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