Is having pain a good or bad thing? The answer is both Yes, and No. Experiencing pain is normal. Everyone experiences pain every now and then. The good thing about pain is that it stops you from doing things that may be dangerous. In this way, pain can be helpful and informative. If we follow these cues, pain is a good thing.
Unfortunately, there are times where pain persists even after an initial injury has healed. Occasionally, the pain can move to other areas where there is no injury at all. In such instances, the pain has become non-informative and non-helpful. Now, the pain itself is the problem.
While many seek chiropractic care because of pain, pain in itself is not a good indicator of health. Let’s discuss what pain is, and how chiropractic plays a role in it.
How do we feel pain?
Nociceptors are sensory receptors that detect and respond to pain the body. Let’s break this down so it’s easier to understand. Noci comes from the Latin word nocere which means “to harm or hurt”, while receptors are groups of cells that receive stimuli (something which causes a response). Nociceptors are sensory receptors that are responsible for detecting or responding to pain in the body. These pain stimuli are then sent to the brain so that it can produce a response to it.
An example of a helpful pain would be, touching something hot. Your body is smart, isn’t it? When you touch something hot, your reflex for that would be to pull your hand away. That pain that you feel will keep you alert the next time you face a similar situation.
Examples of non-helpful pains or chronic pains include headaches, joint, neck and back pains. Other kinds of chronic pains include tendinitis, sinus pains, carpal tunnel syndrome and pain affecting specific parts of your body.
Your pain experience depends on why your brain has decided you need to be protected – why it is creating the feeling of pain for you in the first place. It can, therefore, be very useful for you to try to figure out why your brain may be creating pain for you.
There are nociceptors in your joints as well. Chiropractic care helps correct misalignments in the spine, which if left unaddressed for too long, can cause irritation to discs, ligaments and muscles around it. This actually is your body giving you “useful” pain signals, before the “non-useful” pains of achiness, feelings of discomfort, and posture changes set in.
When do I see a chiropractor?
You should not only see a chiropractor only when you are in pain, even though often, that is what we see at our centres. Our daily activities and (bad) habits definitely put extra pressure on our spine, affecting its movement and function. Once the spine’s function is impaired, the information your brain tries to send to your body, and vice-versa, can be interrupted.
Chiropractic is more than pain relief
Chiropractic is more than about relieving yourself from pain. It is about optimising the overall function of your body by making sure than your spine is free from subluxation. Pain relief is just one of the benefits of being under chiropractic care. Chiropractic care will enable you to function better, sleep better, breathe better, improving your quality of life.