To Be or Not To Be…In Pain, That is the Question!

If you were given a choice between living with pain and living without pain which would you choose? I do not mean that you would never feel pain because pain is a necessary indicator that tells us when something is not working well and when change is needed. I mean chronic pain like low back issues, sciatica, tendinitis, carpal tunnel, etc. If you were experiencing chronic pain or even discomfort would you seek to manage the pain or eliminate it? Is it fair to expect that those individuals with a pulse would most likely choose to avoid pain rather than manage it?

The concept of “Pain Management” seems absurd when you stop and consider it. Why would you want to manage something you would rather not have at all? What if we were to change the phrase to “Pain Elimination” or “Pain Negation”? Why are so many people resolved to the idea that they just have to live with pain? Could it be that the professionals they seek advice from, such as medical practitioners, reinforce this concept of “pain management”? Why do you think that is?

The reason could be that most medical doctors are more educated in pharmacological and surgical approaches to pain than biomechanical and structural approaches. They are taught that prescribing anti-inflammatories and performing structure-altering surgery is the only way to go. Unfortunately, rarely do these approaches address the problem, they merely focus on the symptom. Most doctors do not learn about the biomechanics of the body as a whole, integrative unit. This is not to say they know nothing; rather they learn how each area of the body works but in an isolated fashion. That is the crux of the issue. Most doctors see each system, each muscle, each joint as a separate entity with little relation to the rest of the systems and the body as a whole.

If you suffer from some type of joint pain, the doctor will focus on that one joint. If you have a muscle strain, they will look at that one muscle. If you have tendinitis, they will look at that tendon. Most often it is not the area of pain which is the underlying cause, but how the body is attempting to organize movement as a whole and the pain site is the victim of the crime, not the perpetrator. Perhaps a person sprained their ankle several weeks ago, and now they are experiencing low back pain. Could it be from how they found a new way to move after the sprain that caused the low back to work harder and suffer more? Yet, if you were to seek medical advice, the typical approach would be to prescribe anti-inflammatories. Next, you might need to get an x-ray and then an MRI. Did the doctor even know about the sprained ankle? If so, do they suspect a correlation?

I can not place the entire blame on the medical profession no more than can I blame my 10-year-old son for not knowing how to build solar panels for my house. Neither of them have been educated on the relative subject matter. Yet, the idea that pain is something you have to live with is preposterous. It is something to appreciate and embrace for what it is: the body’s way of communicating with the conscious mind. It is a way of letting us know that something needs to change. If you are someone who has unfortunately fallen into the warped reality that pain is something you have to live with you might want to think twice.