Chronic pain is not just acute pain
that doesn’t go away.
It can literally shrink the brain, reducing the volume of gray matter as much as 20 years of aging, as researchers from Northwestern University have shown. Chronic pain can become not just a symptom of something else, but a transformation of a normal nervous system into a runaway, self-propelled freight train, in which the body no longer needs an injury to trigger pain — revved-up nerves do it all by themselves. Chronic pain is a complicated and stubborn condition, in which sufferers feel aches in their joints, bones, or muscles for months and even years. Whether the pain originates from an injury or an infection (or some unknown cause), chronic pain often lasts far too long — and can impair a person’s ability to function in and enjoy their daily lives. Chronic pain includes headaches, backaches, and arthritis. Because chronic pain is different for everyone — it could be caused by a number of reasons, including genetics, age, disease, or injury — doctors need to find unique treatments to suit each individual. .
Though chronic pain is often hidden from the USA’s front pages and TV screens, it is actually Americans’ biggest health problem. Chronic pain — typically defined as pain lasting more than three to six months — affects 100 million adult Americans and costs the nation upwards of $635 billion a year — more than cancer, heart disease and diabetes combined. Despite the prevalence of chronic pain, many people, including many physicians, are unaware of the growing number of non-narcotic treatments.Chief among these is exercise. To be sure, many people with chronic pain are terrified that if they move, they will damage themselves further, a problem technically called kinesiophobia — fear of movement. But nothing could be further from the truth.
“To date, there is no scientific evidence that activity and exercises are harmful, or that pain-inducing activity must be avoided,” says James Rainville, a spine and rehabilitation specialist at New England Baptist Hospital in Boston.Other approaches, including massage, cognitive-behavior therapy, meditation, biofeedback and, in some studies, chiropractic manipulation, all can be helpful in relieving chronic pain. Alternative treatments can offer more holistic ways for people to manage their chronic pain rather than risk getting addicted to painkillers.. But there’s still a lot about chronic pain that we don’t understand. For example, there might be a genetic link between anxiety disorder and chronic pain, which would open up new pathways for treatment and research. And researchers have for a long time been examining the brain pathways related to chronic pain to help discern why our brain becomes hardwired over time to experience pain even if it really isn’t there. Perhaps alternative treatments are a more well-rounded way to tackle chronic pain, as they have a focus on mental health, as well — and can be safer than painkillers.
Here at the Gohl Program we offer the alternative pain relief through MLT (Manual Ligament Therapy), dynamic stretching, yoga, meditation & one-on-one counseling that links mental & physical pain. Let us help you improve your overall healh & wellness.