- Do you suffer from chronic pain that never lets up?
- Maybe you've been in pain for months or even years.
- Perhaps your pain persists long after an injury has healed or even in the absense of ever being injured?
If you answered yes to any of the above questions, it is time for a straight talk about pain and its everyday purpose.
Quick Look: The Purpose of Pain
Since you were a child, you have always known pain to be your body's mechanism to protect itself.
As a child you were told to not touch the hot stovetop. But undoutedly, we all touch it once . . . and only once. The pain you felt ended quickly with an ice pack and you learned your lesson. Pain is our brain processing distress in our body. At its core, pain is our nervous system telling us something is wrong somewhere in our body.
In most discussions about pain, we generally think of acute pain which is caused by trauma. Broken bones, twisted ankles, surgical wounds, dental work, burns and cuts. Often times these traumatic events are associated with inflammation, and the rush of fluids to the site of the wound puts pressure on our nerves causing swelling.
Traditional medical treatment for acute pain can be quite effective. Common over-the-counter medications can reduce the inflammation and thus reduce the pain. Even prescription medication can effectively treat acute pain. The design of our body's natural process is beautiful . . . when our body heals, the pain subsides.
But chronic pain doesn't play by these rules.
Chronic pain is your body's nervous system sending signals of pain to your brain long after an injury has healed. In fact, your brain could be receiving signals of pain even when there was no originating injury.
The emotional toll of chronic pain can be just as frustrating as the physical pain itself. The combination of physical and mental anguish can lead to a variety of life-altering changes such as limited mobility, lack of energy, changes in appetite, depression, fear, and anxiety.
The Traditional Medicine Approach
Traditional medicine offers a broad range of treatment options, some more effective than others. And quite frankly, these options have a broad spectrum of side effects that should also be understood.
For some pain management specialists, treatment may mean for you a lifetime of recurring steroid injections to reduce inflammation. For a differet kind of specialist, treatment may mean addictive narcotics or risky surgical procedures to reduce the pain signals being transmitted to the brain.
However, these treatments are only designed to temporarily relieve the symptom of pain. You must return again in a few months for another injection or prescription refill. While these treatments can be effective at chronic pain management, they also carry additional consequences that will take a harmful toll on your body.
Common pain management drugs such as oxycodone and hydrocodone are known to have long-term side effects. Most commonly we think of the extremely addictive nature of these drugs, and how our body becomes physically dependent on the drugs to function without pain. However, research has also confirmed the toll that these drugs take on your liver and endocrine system. Hormone levels are disrupted which can begin a domino effect that disrupts you mood, metabolism, sleep, and sexual function, among other things.
How Functional Medicine Is Different
Functional medicine has proven highly effective at combating chronic pain due to its core principal: Focus on the underlying cause, rather than simply masking the symptom.
When using medications to dull or numb pain, effectively you are disrupting the signals being transmitted to your brain so that your brain doesn't feel the pain. But instead of numbing the pain, functional medicine focuses first on determining why the pain exists?
The doctors at the Institute for Functional Health work with patients everyday who have dealt with chronic pain. And just like you, they thought that they would spend the rest of their lives on pills and injections and surgical procedures to temporarily alleviate the pain. Whether it is a patient who is dealing with arthritis, which is actually an autoimmune condition, or a patient who is recovering from an auto accident and has been through countless surgeries, the Institute for Functional Health has a regimen of non-invasive treatments that heal you from the inside out.
At the same time, we recognize that there is a time and place for more advanced medical care that may require invasive procedures. However, this should not be your first plan of action.
Let our doctors design a customized plan for you that combines their foundational knowledge of chiropractic care along with the quickly-developing research behind functional health. Understanding how your nervous system integrates with other body systems is the key to you breaking free from the cycle of chronic pain management so that you can simply live PAIN FREE.