Chronic pain is as exhausting as it is painful. It gnaws, and grinds, and drains, and exhausts you as it sits on top of your awareness.
Acute, sudden pain is attention-getting, and demands your immediate attention. It is much like a slap across the cheek. We’ve all experienced intense pain that focused our mind on what just happened, and which insisted that we answer the question, “How do I keep that from happening again?”
Chronic pain is different. It holds some of the attributes of acute pain, in that it demands your attention, and in that it draws your thoughts to stopping the pain. But it also, sometimes offers a glimmer of hope, when it ebbs for a while. Yet when it returns once again, it leaches that hope away, inexorably pulling the rug of hope from under your feet.
Chronic pain has many sources which range from insidious disease to unexpected trauma. Likewise, the treatment for chronic pain has many options – none of which come free of negative side effects.
- Opiod therapy, as effective as it is, has obvious abuse and dependency issues, and is responsible for many of the medication related deaths that occur each year. These prescriptions are more restricted with each passing year.
- Steroid injections are powerful medications with a variety of systemic implications. They can cause everything from changed hair growth patterns, to immune system compromise, to brittle bones and fractures.
- Rhizotomy, a procedure in which they ‘kill’ nerve roots chemically by injecting a caustic chemical into the inflamed nerves. Can you envision a down side to killing nerve roots? Keep in mind, nerve roots control more than pain, and these treatments deaden more than just the pain transmitters.
- Facet block, in which they numb the tiny nerves that enervate the posterior ‘sliding’ joints that stabilize the vertebral column. This has implications in joint health, proprioception, and balance.
- Other surgeries, such as disc decompression, fusion, stenosis ‘correction’.
Each of these may have some success, but each has potential side effects that include scarring, failed outcomes, increased instability of the spine, and other general surgical risks. Many of these side effects are permanent. And if they happen, they add another layer of complexity to the ongoing trauma of chronic pain.
Thus, these procedures ought to be considered last resorts. Thankfully, there are other options – options that can offer relief, and which carry no side effects. Unfortunately, many primary care providers ignore those options.
Some of these options include exercise, stretching, yoga, homeopathy, and naturopathy. But chief among these is chiropractic care.
Chiropractic care is the science of finding and correcting misalignments of the joints. This process includes an examination (that will consist of range of motion and some simple orthopedic tests) as well as x-rays. If the Chiropractor finds significant spinal issues from the exam, they will perform spinal adjustments that will gently realign the joints, freeing them of the stress that causes inflammation and pain.
The doctor will also recommend specific exercises for the patient to do between treatments. This helps the corrective process to proceed more quickly and steadily.
While Chiropractic care may not eliminate all of the chronic pain 100% of the time, it is well worth the time and investment. In fact, research shows that conservative chiropractic care is more effective than any of the other options. This research is becoming so well respected that some insurance companies, and some surgeons require a series of chiropractic adjustments before considering a patient as a candidate for surgery!
Chronic pain is often reduced by a series of chiropractic adjustments. Feeling better, functioning better, improved energy levels, sleeping better, returning to more normal daily activities – these benefits often eliminate the need for more invasive and risky treatments or surgery.
We invite you to consider chiropractic care as a irreplaceable part of your pain management. And feel free to pass this article on to your friends. You may be saving them from a life of pain when they become a part of the Delta Chiropractic family. Give us a call today at 517.321.3030 to see how we can help!