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Getting Out Of The Vicious Pain Cycle

….And into the healing journey and exploring functional topics in life-like sitting, standing, steps, strength, and endurance.

Pain is such a broad problem that has become well over a billion dollar industry in this western society.

Physiologically, what is pain? It is a noxious or unpleasant stimulus that, under certain amount of demand or stress, is provoked and sent to the registers of your brain. Your brain is therefore what interprets, confuses, and identifies the area in your body where the uncomfortable stimulus has been stressed.

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It is a protective mechanism in our system that is NECESSARY FOR OUR SURVIVAL and not all bad. It is around to tell you to STOP! Stop doing the very activity that keeps hurting you.

The issue lies when our pain becomes uncontrollable and spreads like a brush fire to neighboring communities. Initially easy to contain, but now the National Guard and fire stations from many townships are called in and a state of emergency is razing through our body. We often ignore the smallest amount of pain, and not until it actually impedes on the very joys of life, do we seek help.

I’ll tell you what: it isn’t pain that stops this world from functioning but rather the lack of function that keeps us from it. I know plenty of people, me included, who have ignored the signs of pain and throw ourselves into momentary times of “fun” only to pay for it in agony later.

PAIN isn’t the problem here—it’s us. We need to get away from the “pleasure is good and pain is bad” philosophy, “life is short” and the “you only live once (YOLO)” talk, and look for more delayed senses of gratification. What a joy?! Maybe it’s the five extra minutes of holding your child, or ten more minutes of sitting down to blog. Maybe it’s just a moot point.

Instead of being reactive, how hard is it to be proactive? Many are proactive about the very newest iPhone or iPad, willing to endure long lines and such just to have it. Why? Simply, it makes us feel good.

On the other end of the spectrum, Pain has such a negative connotation that our society is taught to avoid it including: emotional, spiritual, and physical. We’d all like to avoid pain at all costs.

And better yet, to avoid the true process of what pain is all about, we would rather cut it out of our mind and bodies. I argue that ignoring the pain is the worst way to counter it, especially if the pain is life-threatening or caused by broken bones. You should ask yourself: “Did I make the necessary changes for my body to heal and thrive to carry me through my most important moments?” or “Did I make any safe or fair modifications to my habits?” It is possible that cancer-inflicted parts of the body were not able to endure its long hours of stress.

Only the courageous will have the “guts” to never stop seeking the right treatments to an unknown cause. If you are willing to perceive pain as an awakening of your body, you can conquer the arduous journey to relieve it. Through the journey, you will see that pain is trying to guide you back towards the beginning when your body was most pure and unstressed. Was there pain then? Yes or No?

Those who go on this healing and thriving journey are indeed the strongest. How else is a prisoner of war (POW) able to tolerate days, years, or decades of beatings and be able to see the light and hope for freedom? We all love stories like this, yet in reality we rather avoid it. Why can’t we be the inspiration by finding it within ourselves to be the survivor?

Patients are often asked to evaluate their pain between zero (meaning no pain) to ten (the worst ever pain experienced). Everything in between is some shade of gray. In my professional opinion, you either have pain or you don’t. If you’re in the gray area, it is a sort of conundrum that is hard to get out of.

I argue that there are different kinds of pain: nerve pain, visceral pain, cardiac pain, muscle pain, joint pain, emotional pain, etc. But, can the general reader or patient discern the difference? I have practiced for nearly ten years and see that there isn’t much difference between some pain and a lot of pain.

The patients who seem to be stuck in the pain cycle are hitting a barrier where they constantly test whether their treatment is working. It is like scratching an itch even when it may or may not be there.

Why are we in such a pain-centric society? Pain is simply over-dramatized. There is not enough emphasis placed on limitations of functional tasks and life experiences. One can argue that pain is the very limiting factor to a limited life, but if patients focused on the cause of it – whether it is an unstable hip, a weak joint, or even a posture that limits leg movement – then we can start identifying important issues within ourselves and help the healthcare spectrum.

Our unwillingness to discern the root of our pain has created a billion dollar industry to mask the pain. The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) published a study which concluded that if Medicare patients visited a physical therapist in a state of wellbeing prior to needing treatment and prescriptions (direct access) from a medical doctor, we would save about $2,000 – $3,000 of taxpayer money per Medicare patient. Imagine the savings we would retain as a nation.

Where do we go from here?

There is no way to go but up – if you choose it. The healing and wellness journeys are a long road from where we are now. It is merely the choice to ditch pain and jump on the wellness train.

If our society focused on function rather than pain, maybe we can keep this billion dollar problem from becoming a trillion dollar problem—much like our national debt (which is another great example of us avoiding the pain).

I invite you all to start making those self-reflective areas of change (you all know what they are) and CHANGE. After all, isn’t it a CHOICE? Even by saying there is no choice, you made your choice. Which way of living do you want to choose?

This is your health, my health, and this is our health.

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