Lifestyle

Thiel: Dealing with chronic pain

As a chiropractor, I have the pleasure of working with many chronic pain sufferers.

These are people who have suffered from an intractable pain for a great, long time.

The pleasure comes from seeing these individuals who are wrought with discomfort, evolve into a pain-free, joyful individuals again. It is one of my most favorite parts of my job.

From the age of 14, I suffered from constant low back pain. Anyone who has had a malady that has lasted for a long duration will attest to the fact that, chronic pain affects what you are to your very core. Unfortunately, this sort of pain defines you. It affects your concentration, your work or school, your sleep, your relationships, and your overall ability to enjoy this life we have been given.

To all my chronic pain sufferers I start their care by not only validating their pain, but addressing their worry that they may feel, at times, that they’re losing their mind. This sort of pain is not only very isolating but there is also a strong depressive component with the ever present sense of discomfort.

I explain there are processes that take place in the body that are a direct result of the pain. These processes can amplify the pain if left unaddressed for a long duration of time.

In it, the body not only sends more nerve endings to the area that is in pain but also heightens the experience in the brain.The recipient experiences

pain to a larger degree than was previously experienced. These are true morphological changes that the central nervous system undergoes in an environment of chronic pain. But there is good news.

Once the culprits, or the genesis of the pain, is removed, the processes reverse themselves. But one must get to the base of the problem, not just its symptoms in order to eradicate the pain.

If you suffer from chronic pain, it is important to realize your pain is very real, even though you may fight it every day. It is not in your head and you’re not malingering. Your pain must be addressed appropriately.

My patients are often surprised to find out that the processing and management of pain actually requires physiological energy. You are only given so much of physiological energy every day to spend. This energy, in a normal state, is divided between the acts of breathing, thermal regulation, digestion, ambulation, etc. At the end of the day, your energy currency is spent, only to be replenished during rest.

Individuals in chronic pain not only have their rest interrupted, but the amount of energy they’re expanding processing their pain is considerable. This leaves very little physiological energy for all the other normal daily processes of life. This is why one is in chronic pain is often fatigued and/or exhausted.

If your pain is real, it is not because you have a Tylenol deficiency.  Find it, fix it, leave it alone.

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