Did you know that most pain that people feel is Referred Pain? Referred pain is pain that is perceived at a location other than the site of its origin (1). People spend countless time and money trying to make their pains go away without identifying or getting to the root cause. This leaves the primary problem to degenerate for decades which can result in a lifetime of suffering.
Some classic examples of referred pain patterns are as follows:
- Heart attack causing shooting left arm pain and jaw pain
- Gall bladder spasm causing pain in the right shoulder
- Kidney Stones causing flank and groin pain.
- Low back disk weakness causing sciatic leg pain, numbness, and tingling in the feet and toes
There are many other common types of referred health problems that come from the spine. Allergies, Attention Deficit, ear infections in kids, and headaches can come from nerve pressure, subluxations, in the upper neck. Digestion, elimination, and nutrient absorption issues can result from nerve pressure in the upper neck, mid and lower back.
Because of the vast nature of the nervous system, almost every condition that people experience can have a nerve component. Focusing on finding and eliminating the underlying cause, which is often the nerve component, must be addressed for healing to occur.
Specific pathways and neural connections in the brain are thought to lead to the possibility of pain referral (2).
Chiropractic care is extremely effective in helping people of all ages to become healthier because they don’t treat the symptom. We get to the cause.
Your body functions as a unit, rather than a sum of its individual parts. When one area is not functioning right, your body’s Innate Intelligence will compensate and adapt around the dysfunction.
A common example of this is developing a limp after twisting your ankle. This limp allows you to walk, even if it is hindered, so you can transport yourself to a seated position and attend to your injury. What you cannot see, is the nervous system coordinating the production of swelling and inflammation, in addition to tightening the muscles around the area to help provide more stability and prevent further injury. The inflammatory process floods the area with fresh red blood cells to nourish the injured tissue, and white blood cells to help begin the healing process.
Function determines feel. When a part of the body is not functioning correctly, a symptom of that dysfunction will alert you that something is not right. When the body is dysfunctional, the compensations are ultimately what start becoming the major pain producers. The system of the body that coordinates the compensations, is the nervous system. The nervous system is the master controller of every cell, tissue and organ in the entire body. When an injury occurs, pain receptors at the site of the injury and the surrounding areas relay messages along the pain signal pathways within the nervous system into the brain. Without this communication pathway, you would continue to walk on your twisted ankle, making the injury more severe with each step.
For too long, Western Medicine has been focused on numbing the pain, rather than identifying and correcting the cause of it. It is vital to keep your pain receptors working so you can protect yourself from further injury. More importantly, you must take care of the main system that is responsible for sending and receiving these messages to your brain.
Chiropractors across the country have been helping people understand the importance of keeping the nervous system functioning optimally.
When symptoms arise, resist the urge to suppress your body when it needs you most. Listen to your body, and focus on correcting the cause of the problem rather than treating the symptom.