When Pain Isn’t Just Pain (Is There a Hidden Cause?)

By Dr. Philip Cordova

September 10, 2019

We often take for granted our pain-free lives until we are suddenly faced with enormous amounts of discomfort.

Whether your pain is in your back, your neck or somewhere in between, it can affect the way you work, sleep, move, play, or spend time with the people you care about. But when is pain not just something to endure, but a symptom of an underlying cause?

What is Pain?

Your body is equipped with an evolutionary early warning system intended to keep you from doing permanent damage to your body.

Pain is your brain’s interpretation of sensory signals that originate in another area of your body. Let’s say you stub your toe on the edge of your bed in the dark. What is actually happening? When you jam your toe, your nerves receive a jolt of information all at once. This information travels from your toe through your leg, through your spinal cord, and into your brain where it ends at your cerebral cortex. Your brain processes that information and in a split-second, you yelp in pain, hoping not to wake your sleeping partner.

Back pain and neck pain may begin more slowly than stubbing your toe, but the process is the same. Nerves in the injured area send information to the brain where it is processed as pain. What’s interesting is that we react to back or neck pain differently than when we stub toes. On one hand, back or neck pain usually causes us to take a “wait and see” approach, while the only priority after stubbing your toe is to make the pain stop.

Addressing the Cause of Pain

Our first reaction when we are uncomfortable is to stop whatever is causing our discomfort. That is why so many people who are in pain reach for pain-relieving medications.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, acetaminophen, or opioid painkillers all effectively relieve a person’s pain for a time, but none address the underlying cause of the pain. Likewise, rest and ice may relieve symptoms temporarily, but they will not address structural issues like disc problems.

The only way to address structural issues without surgical intervention is through chiropractic care, spinal decompression, and other manual therapies. And fortunately, most structural issues can be helped without resorting to invasive treatments.

The Fix

One of the primary ways to address the hidden cause of back and neck pain is through spinal decompression therapy.

As we age, the discs between the bones in your spine that act as shock absorbers, begin to shrink. Injuries to your back can also cause these tough discs to slip or rupture. Not only are you left with pain in your back, but once the disc is out of place it affects the surrounding nerves, muscles, and tissues. Fortunately, fixing a slipped or ruptured disc is often as simple as giving it space to heal on its own.

Using gentle pressure, spinal decompression elongates your spine, allowing the disc to return to its normal place. Most patients report some relief after just one treatment with full resolution of their pain once they complete a treatment plan. Best of all, spinal decompression therapy is non-invasive and is as simple as sitting in a chair. Curious if spinal decompression therapy is right for you? Call our office or schedule a consultation online and start fixing the cause of your pain.

Dr. Philip Cordova

About the author

Dr. Philip Cordova is a chiropractor in Houston, Texas. He grew up in Phoenix, Arizona and decided to become a chiropractor after hurting his back as a teenager and getting help from chiropractic care. He is speaker on health & posture. Click Here To Read His Full Bio

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