We live in a stressful society with constant demands. Whether it is trying to get to work, catching the final minutes of your son or daughters game, hurrying to that last sale, or getting through rush hour traffic, we are always on the go. Almost everything we do on a day-to-day basis coincides with stress. We wake up, rush to work, hurry home, eat and hopefully sleep. Throughout our busy day our bodies are sending us reminders to slow down. These reminders may be as simple as being tired, moody or achy. But, since we are moving at such a hurried pace, we tend to ignore the signals our body sends, until we receive the final signal, pain. We even try to ignore pain because we just don’t have the time, energy or means to deal with it. We try to ameliorate the pain by taking pain medication. It is not to say that taking pain medication is bad but we must realize that it is reducing the pain temporarily, and is by no means taking care of the problem. Pretty soon we have to take more and more pills because the pain keeps getting worse and worse. Often times we don’t realize that it comes back because it is not being treated it is being masked. We need to focus on the source of the pain.
We have pain because it is a communicator between our brain and the rest of our body to warn us that something is wrong. It is the ache in your stomach when you have the flu, it is the feeling in your finger when you get a paper cut; pain signifies that something is wrong with our bodies. When we have an injury to a certain part of the body, a sprained ankle for example, the body recognizes the injury as if it is the most severe injury possible no matter what the situation is. This triggers the inflammatory process, which then causes histamine to be released, which sends a pain signal to our brain warning it of the injury. The brain then relies on help from other body systems and in this case, for the ankle, it stimulates the muscles surrounding the area to form a splint around the ankle in order to keep it from obtaining further injury. We hinder this process by injecting cortisone or taking painkillers, muscle relaxants and other means of temporary relief. The temporary relief allows us to continue to use the ankle without fixing the problem, thus causing the body system to be prone to further injury that leads to even more pain. Pain medication is good to take during the recovery process from an injury but should not be depended on to treat a problem. This scenario is true not only for ankle sprains but for all levels of the body ranging from heartburn when eating spicy foods, to stomach/internal pains and musculoskeletal/sports injuries. We look for the quick fix, without looking at long-term consequences or treatments.
Our bodies are sending us a message to take time out of our busy lifestyle to realize the pain, stop hiding it instead try to resolve the problem. If you have muscular/bone aches and pains, go to your family physician and ask them if he/she is going to help fix the problem and not just ease or hide the pain. If they are unable to help you, then ask them to help you find somewhere you could go to get the best results for your condition. Most conditions relating to muscular or joint pains that are neither traumatic nor life threatening can be handled by chiropractors and physical therapists. If you have a fracture or need surgery for advanced injuries relating to musculoskeletal problems you can see an orthopedist. For most other conditions consisting of internal issues causing pain it is necessary that you either see your family physician or a specialist for the painful area. Whatever you do, listen to your body and receive the appropriate help so you can live a pain free life.