Why is chronic pain so hard to fix?

chronic pain Greenwood Village Chiropractor

Interesting question, right?

What if you were born without the ability to feel pain?

Would that be a good thing?

Let me flip it on you…

Is pain a bad thing?

I believe it’s good to have pain, and that we should be thankful for the signal.

Here’s why…

If you were born without pain, every fall you had would be potentially very dangerous.  For example, if you were playing on the playground and fell and injured an organ, broke a bone, or ruptured a disc how would you know?

If you were to touch a hot stove, you’d have no idea that it was destroying cells and tissues on the surface of your hand.

And if you were to suffer with appendicitis, that would be a death sentence.

Without pain, we have a much harder time determining what’s dangerous and what’s safe for our bodies.

Now, I get it…

Pain that’s short-lived is doable.  But long-term pain can affect quality of life, work, and happiness.

So, how long is too long?

Is there a point when pain becomes more significant and worse for us?

Actually…there is.

Once pain has been present for 3-months, it becomes much more complicated.  We label this “chronic pain”.  The reason it becomes more complicated is because it becomes a neurological and psychological issue as well.

Furthermore, the pain signal the brain picks up becomes 500% more sensitive!

Before I go further, you may be asking what does the brain have to do with your chronic pain?

The truth is: everything!

The brain is what allows us to feel pain.  It used to be thought that pain was in the area of damaged tissue, and this can play a role.  But after 90-days, that switches to the brain entirely.

Take this study for example

104 amputees who had legs cut off due to chronic pain, were polled in a follow-up study.  70% of the amputees still felt the leg pain, even though their leg was no longer attached!

Pain isn’t in your low-back, or neck, or leg.  Pain is in the brain.

Enough digressing…let me get back to my original point.

If pain has been around for more than 90-days, it is now classified as chronic pain and switches from being strictly a physical problem and becomes an emotional and nervous system issue.

The reason people struggle to fix their chronic pain?

Because the overwhelming majority of healthcare professionals only focus on the physical tissue.  For example, if you struggle with back pain and have for a number of years, then the doctor is in all likelihood spending most of his/her time treating your low-back.

Instead of addressing the stress that has been stored in your nervous system due to the chronic pain.  That is now triggering stress hormones like cortisol, adrenaline, and norepinephrine around the clock.  Hormones known to increase pain levels and inflammation.

Treating the tissue won’t necessarily stop these nasty pain cocktails from being released.

And so people who have suffered with chronic pain continue to be tortured by it for the rest of their life.  Never learning about the important role their nervous system plays in the healing process.