This is an excerpt from Chapter Four of Dr. Troy Dreiling’s book.
Proactive Approach to Pain
Many Americans suffer from chronic pain. In fact, according to the National Centers for Health Statistics, more than one-quarter of Americans (26%) age 20 years and over – an estimated 76.5 million Americans – report that they have had a problem with pain. They awaken in the morning in pain and go to bed at night in pain. And for many, sleep is interrupted due to pain. Such pain limits activities and limits life enjoyment. But what can a person do?
The old view solution was to see a medical doctor who would most likely prescribe pain medication. Of course, as time went on, more and more medication would be needed in order to combat the pain. And that was if you were lucky enough to be helped by the pain medication in the first place.
If the pain persisted, surgery was often the next avenue of care. The problem with surgery is that the “cure” often leaves chronic pain sufferers in more pain. Perhaps a different pain, but pain nonetheless.
The old medical model is a model of disease. The first line of defense is to mask the symptoms. The second line of defense is to surgically repair. This is very different from the wellness model practiced by chiropractors.
Chiropractors do not seek to mask symptoms. Instead, we seek to help the body function at its most optimal level by fixing subluxations in the spine. We seek the cause of the problem.
In order to understand how chiropractic can help chronic pain sufferers, it will be helpful to define pain.
Pain is not a bad thing in and of itself. Of course, for those experiencing it, it is no fun. However, pain is the body’s way of sending an SOS to the body. The message is that something is wrong and the SOS is loud enough that it
can’t be ignored.
If a person feels a sufficient amount of pain, they will stop doing the activity that is causing the pain. This is the protective mechanism built into the body to help prevent further injury.
Pain is useful as long as it is keeping us healthy. However, pain can get out of control. It can continue long after its usefulness has been achieved.
Pain that stops you from injuring yourself further is called acute pain. It is the body’s response to injury. For instance, if you twist your ankle while hiking along a trail, the pain you feel is acute pain. Chronic pain is that which persists far beyond the twisted ankle.
Chronic pain has many sources:
- Injuries that did not heal correctly or completely
- Long-term disease
- Injuries to the nervous system
Of course, there are other potential sources, but no matter what, the source of chronic pain is one that encompasses an unresolved issue with the body.
The biggest problem with chronic pain is that it starts a vicious cycle that leads to more pain. The longer we feel pain, the more our body tries to accommodate the pain. This is often through unusual body movements and posture, and through a reduction of activities. The more the body accommodates the pain, the more difficult it is to get rid of it. It can be a
very difficult cycle to break.
This is where chiropractic care comes in. Specific chiropractic adjustments can help reduce or even eliminate many kinds of pain and has been shown to be especially effective with chronic pain.
How can chiropractic help when medication cannot? Chiropractic principles state that although injury or illness may be the original cause of pain, everything that happens to the body involves the nervous system.
- Any impact to the body will involve the skeletal system in general and the spine in particular
- Disease causes muscular issues. Muscles affect the way we move. Movement and posture effects the spine.
- Blocked nerve impulses are due to subluxations in the spine.
Chiropractic’s role is to establish the normal function of muscles, joints, and the nervous system, thus eliminating the root causes of chronic pain.
Studies have shown that chiropractic treatments are among the most effective pain management plans. Chiropractic is low-risk. It has no side effects like those associated with medication. And best of all, chiropractic may not only manage pain but can eliminate the cause of pain altogether.