Recovering from Chronic Pain

by THOMAS on Jan 10, 2015 • 10:56 am

Episodes of pain and stiffness can last for days, weeks and even months in some very problematic cases. It is important to understand the mechanisms involved and importance of trying to determine the underlying cause of any musculoskeletal problem. While it may seem that your particular problem came on rather suddenly, most of these problems begin fairly early in life, even as early as adolescence. At this point in our lives we are usually very active so our circulation is capable of removing the inflammatory products before they have a chance to cause major nerve irritation. As a result, we do not often experience pain in our youth like we do as adults. It is nerve irritation that actually causes the pain and if this irritation persists, then the surrounding muscle will begin to ache, which can lead to an eventual full blow muscle spasm. This can not only be very painful but also physically debilitating and quite disruptive to ones daily routine.


In modern medicine, we have come to expect big, immediate changes that come from drugs and surgery. These immediate changes rarely fix the problem, especially where chronic pain is involved. Most real improvement is a slow and gradual process of repair and regeneration that is part of our built in recovery system. The job of the health care practitioner is to guide the healing process and to look for impediments to that healing. For most  patients, the road to recovery winds and curves and there may be periods when it seems the process slows down and times when the pain becomes worse, but do not be concerned with short term fluctuations in your progress. Worrying and stressing encourages inflammation so try to take it easy and think positive thoughts.


If you are experiencing chronic pain, do not let the pain be your guide. This can lead you down the wrong road and eventually control your life. Sometimes short term pain can bring long term gain. A good example of this is starting a new exercise program in which you experience some pain in the beginning but this type of pain is associated with reconditioning and renewal. If done under the direction of a professional such as a chiropractor, osteopath, or professional trainer who will help to determine your safe level of exercise, this can be a very beneficial experience in the long term.


Your body begins life with optimal function. Muscles, tendons and ligaments are strong, flexible, and pain free. As time goes by, some of these structures can become injured, overworked, and damaged and your body out of necessity compensates by using different, less appropriate muscles. Over time, various compensation patterns become established but eventually your body runs out of tricks to keep things going. At this point, pain, weakness, and a host of other possible symptoms can come into play. You can think of all of these compensation patterns as representing layers of an onion where each layer represents another compensation pattern. Healthy therapeutic measures that work with the body will gradually peal back each layer and expose the symptoms associated with it. As you proceed down the road to recovery, you may experience your pain moving around. This is a good thing and is a sign that you are getting closer to the original underlying problem and closer to restoring the optimal function that your body originally possessed.  I speak from experience when I say that the vast majority of my patients, including myself, recovered and healed in this vary same fashion. You will too if you follow the direction of your health care professional and become the other half of your recovery team. Remember,  health is NOT a spectator sport!