As a Chiropractor, we see too many people in pain, with limited function, and an inability to perform the activities that they love.
Most people wait until the pain is no longer tolerable before they seek help. But contrary to what many would think, this pain is not the very beginning of the problem, it is now your body failing to adapt, it is the red light on your metaphoric “dashboard” warning you that there is a problem.
Your body wants you to be well. It is constantly making changes in response to the environment that you are providing it. What this means is that your body will adapt to keep you functioning and moving, even if it’s not comfortable, or at a compromise to your biomechanics. This is when the stresses that you are putting your body under start to show, commonly seen as poor posture, back/neck, joint, nerve and muscle pains, and other biomechanical problems.
A common example is if you spend the majority of your day sitting at a desk – you get ligamentous creep, where the muscles of your back get lazy and the connective tissues get overly stretched leading to instability and can bring on early degeneration. In addition to this, your body responds by shortening your hip flexor muscles because, hey, that’s what you do for 8+ hours a day!
Similarly if you are in a constant sympathetic state, i.e. chronically stressed, your body is exposed to high levels of stress hormones, causing muscles to tighten, increases in blood pressure, heart rate and muscle tone. Your body is basically in a constant state of “fight or flight”, ready to run or protect itself, which is extremely taxing on the body’s oxygen and energy supply. All of these changes and adaptations occur in your body without your conscious awareness. By the time your brain registers these changes, it is likely that your body has reached a limit to its ability to adapt, and now the stress and load is registered by your brain as tightness/discomfort, pressure or pain.
So what is pain? It’s a warning sign – it is your body is trying to tell you to slow down, get help, take a rest, change your posture, change your behaviour, look at lifestyle choices, and the list goes on. Pain can be complex and there are often a multitude of factors in every person’s life that may contribute to the many different types and manifestations of pain. Mainly falling under one or more of these categories of physical, chemical or emotional trauma.
Chiropractic is one of many different types of pain relief. It is safe, effective and natural. It can help the body address physical/emotional/chemical factors of the pain, as well as aiding to correct the changes that your clever little body has made to compensate for those extra stresses you have taken on. And often out clients once they are out of pain, can get back to all the fun activities they did before, and many find that they body functions even better so they can do even more! If giving your body this love and attention can reverse and retrain out of the misaligned and loaded state it was in, imagine the possibilities!
Immediately after a chiropractic adjustment, there is an increase in joint range of motion and muscle contractility – so basically you can push harder, lift more, run faster and jump higher.
Basically pain is not the signal you should be waiting for, but it is a useful one to tell you that whatever you have been doing is no longer working. So listen in and go get adjusted! Don’t wait until your body is screaming at you.
Some early signs to look out for are:
· Tightness/tension at the end of the day
· Lack of energy
· Falling unwell
· Stiffness in joints, lack of mobility
· Back/neck ache
So thank you to pain for flashing those big warning signs to bring your body’s wellness to your busy brains attention! The message here is – please look after your body, you only have one, and start to notice the excess stress you put your body through.
Dr Sarah Nguyen