There is a lot of talk these days about pain, pain killers, and pain management. As with so many other problems in our society, we somehow miss the cues and indicators that the problem is getting out of hand, until it is too late. Then we backpedal, point fingers, blame anything and anyone we can, and struggle to find a solution.
While I could write this blog (actually a whole book) about the greed and manipulation of the pharmaceutical companies, or the incompetence and foolishness of the medical community, I’d prefer to discuss this problem in a way that most are not. I want to get you thinking about the pain pill epidemic in a way that you must if you are ever going to truly understand the bigness of the problem.
As people talk about, write about, and debate who’s to blame for where we are right now with opioid addictions, overdoses, and better, safer ways to manage pain, most people neglect to see that pain is not an actual condition. Pain is the body’s alarm system. What do alarms do? They alert us to a problem. Fire alarms let us know there may be a fire. Burglar alarms alert us to someone breaking into our home. Tornado alarms/sirens give us warning to take cover from dangerous weather. Alarms are used to give us a heads up to an upcoming or underlying problem.
The most sensible thing one would do if an alarm goes off is to figure out what set it off in the first place. The least sensible thing to do would be to simply turn off or disconnect the alarm.
So… going back to the human body… it has a built-in alarm system to help alert us to bigger problems. This highly sensitive, high-tech system is called pain. Utilizing your nervous system, signals get sent between the brain and your body. This is a very fast and efficient way for your brain, the master control system, to keep tabs on how the body is running, to make minor adjustments every second to ensure proper function, and keep tabs on every organ and tissue in the body in case something is wrong. In each nerve there are millions of fibers. Some fibers control muscle function, some control organ function, some monitor temperature, digestion, and immune function, and, of course, some control pain.
If you injure a joint, do not properly care for that injury, and allow it to heal without proper function, it may cause pain with every movement you make. If you show up at the doctor describing that pain and are given pain medication to lessen that pain, but do nothing to restore proper function in that joint, the end result will be ongoing pain and ongoing need for more, and stronger, pain medication. The pain is there to alert you to the problem and prompt you to take action. The action needs to be tending to the joint itself… not the pain.
If you show up at a dentist with massive tooth pain, and he or she gives you pain medication, but fails to work on the tooth, you would be confused, upset, and concerned. Why? Because the cause of the pain isn’t being addressed.
My whole point here is to make sure that you know that pain is not a condition. I would be foolish to say pain medication is never needed. Thank God for pain medication! I’ve needed it and used it, my family has used it, and I occasionally send patients out to their medical doctors if they need it. However, we have bought into this idea that the solution is safer, less addictive pain management. The solution is actually correcting or addressing the cause of the pain. By the way…this is why safer, natural, and simple approaches, such as chiropractic, acupuncture, and massage make so much sense!
Join me Sunday, April 7th, at the Twinsburg Public Library where I will discuss a new healthcare paradigm and pain management strategies overlooked and underutilized by our current healthcare system. 1:30pm-2:45pm. Registration is required… call 330.425.4268, ext. 2.