Pain is a useful indicator that something is wrong with the body that requires attention. Acute pain tends to occur suddenly, often in response to an injury or a change in mobility or function. For example, if you run into a door and hurt yourself, or awaken with a stiff neck that was not there before, that is acute pain.
Chronic pain may also start suddenly, but what differentiates it from acute pain is that it persists; it extends beyond the normal range required for healing. Accidents and diseases can result in pain that lingers long after the event that caused it. The problem is that the longer we feel a chronic pain, the more our bodies and brains compensate and change to accommodate it. This can lead to not only a decreased sense of well-being but actual degradation of our physical health. Medical treatment of chronic pain tends to rely on drugs to mask or reduce the pain, but rarely addresses the root cause of the pain. Chiropractic treatment has been found to be a safe, drug-free, non-invasive treatment for many types of pain, but may be most effective when dealing with chronic pain.
We can define chronic back pain as pain that has persisted longer than three months. The pain may be neuropathic (caused by actual nerve tissue damage, and usually experienced as a sharp pain or burning sensation), or nociceptive (caused by an injury or a source outside the nervous system, experienced as a constant dull ache). This type of chronic pain commonly occurs in adults between the ages of 30 and 50, but may also appear in other age groups as a result of lifestyle practices or injury.
Chronic pain due to nervous system irritation or nerve injury can lead to a number of corollary symptoms – lower back pain, changes in posture or stature, lack of mobility, problems with balance, and over time, actual muscle loss. Chiropractic can be very effective in treating these conditions. Because the long-term goal of chiropractic is to create a healthy spine as the basis for general wellness, it can also help to reestablish normal functioning and eliminate the root causes of chronic pain. Many chiropractors are also trained in methodologies such as trigger point therapy and massage, which have been shown to alleviate chronic pain. Your chronic pain treatment may also include some form of exercise plan, either on your own or under the supervision of a physical therapist, to help you rebuild your strength in the affected areas.
If you are experiencing this kind of pain, consult with your chiropractor to assess whether it may be successfully treated with chiropractic adjustments and/or related therapies. Chiropractic care can be very effective in treating chronic pain on its own, but also integrates well with traditional medical care, without the risk of drug side effects or surgery. Chiropractic treatment may be an effective therapy for you to help with long term pain management, and possibly achieve the elimination of the pain itself.