What Your Pain Is Telling You –
And 3 Things To Do About It
Is that pain you feel in your back, neck or shoulders just a momentary twinge from strain you are putting on your body, perhaps with a new exercise regimen? Or is there something deeper and more serious at work? Either way, you ignore it at your peril.
“Pain is an alert system; it tells us that something is wrong,” says Bradford Butler, a chiropractor and author of The Blueprint for Back Pain Relief: The Essential Guide to Nonsurgical Solutions (www.drbradfordbutler.com). “Chronic pain goes a step further. It is telling you that a whole system in your body isn’t working right.”
For many people and their physicians, the first option for pain, and sometimes the second and third options as well, is to munch on some pain pills – over-the-counter or prescribed – and go on your way.
“That’s fine, except it doesn’t address the fundamental problem,” Butler says. “Too often, with back pain, shoulder pain, neck pain or other chronic pain, many doctors focus on reducing the pain rather than addressing the cause.”
He likens it to waking up with an excruciating toothache, and then visiting a dentist who discovers a huge cavity but, instead of repairing the cavity, just gives you a powerful drug for the pain and sends you home. “Left untreated, the pain would get more debilitating and the damage to the tooth would worsen, leading to bigger and more invasive and expensive procedures,” Butler says. “But that’s what happens when it comes to the American healthcare system and treatment for chronic pain.”
Butler offers these words of advice for those whose bodies are trying to warn them that something is amiss:
“We need to listen to our pain and fix whatever is wrong as soon as possible,” Butler says. “You won’t get better – permanently better – until you find the cause of the problem.”
About Bradford Butler
Bradford Butler, a chiropractor and author of The Blueprint for Back Pain Relief: The Essential Guide to Nonsurgical Solutions (www.drbradfordbutler.com), is owner and director of Oakland Spine and Physical Therapy, which has three locations in northern New Jersey. Dr. Butler, a graduate of the New York Chiropractic College, has twice been named one of America’s top chiropractors by Consumer Research Council of America and his offices have received the exclusive NJ TopDoc Award for eight consecutive years.