When you are in pain, your world is altered.
You get irritable, grouchy, your sleep is disturbed, you become fatigued, you don’t move around as much, (you certainly don’t want to exercise) and therefore become deconditioned, overweight, and often constipated. Chronic pain makes it hard to think clearly, you become less productive and may lose your job. You may get into arguments unnecessarily and family and friends will weary of your attitude. You lose your motivation, laugh less, complain more, withdraw, intimacy is difficult and you can become depressed. Many people become addicted to various substances or behaviors just to ease the pain. Marriages and friendships are threatened. Some people become disabled or unable to work at all.
While there are many reasons and predisposing factors for chronic pain such as stress, poor nutrition, cancer, infection and trauma, there is one in particular that I have seen repeatedly: the body is imbalanced.
When Your Body Is Unbalanced
To give you an example of an imbalance, here is a true story. A 29 year old woman was working at the cash register at a grocery store. She went to lift up a package and it was a few pounds heavier that she had expected. As she went to pick it up, she got a muscle spasm in her shoulder. She thought nothing of it but by the next morning the pain had worsened significantly so she went to see her doctor. He prescribed an anti-inflammatory and a muscle relaxant and sent her home. She came back a week later with the pain worse than before. So he sent her to physical therapy. After 6 weeks of physical therapy the pain persisted so he sent her to a different physical therapist for another 6 weeks. Yet the pain persisted.
Now it was becoming a serious workers compensation case, so she contacted a lawyer. She was then instructed to see an orthopedist who tried some injections. When that failed they did an MRI which showed a slight bulging disc. The next step was surgery. Following the operation she woke up with numbness and tingling in her hands that wouldn’t go away. She had another surgery, this time to fuse her neck, and the numbness and tingling went away. However, now she had neck pain in addition to the shoulder pain. Due to her chronic pain, she was now treated with narcotics and told to take it easy. Being a good patient she spent her time resting and watching television, which resulted in her body becoming more deconditioned resulting in low back pain radiating down her leg. She was seen by another surgeon who recommended back surgery and fusion of her low back.
This young woman (who at the time was 29 years old and is now 33 years old), has had 3 unnecessary surgeries, she is addicted to prescription narcotics, in chronic pain, cannot work and cannot tend to her family. All these unnecessary treatments were keeping her from feeling good.
Could this travesty have been avoided? A resounding “YES!”. After determining that there is no acute injury to the shoulder, an astute physician will look for the source of the pain. In the vast majority of cases, the area of complaint is not the problem. The body is one interconnected unit and an imbalance in one area can “refer” pain to a seemingly unrelated part of the body – much like pulling the end of a sheet spread out on a bed wrinkles the whole sheet. If there is a pain in the back of the shoulder, the real problem could be coming from the front of the shoulder, the lower back, the knee, the neck or even clenched teeth.
Exploring Other Options So You Can Feel Good
Before resorting to toxic drugs, possibly debilitating surgery, or long courses of therapy, you owe it to yourself to explore other treatments that can safely and effectively correct your problem. Being in practice for over 30 years, I have seen remarkable recovery in thousands of patients using Osteopathic Manipulative Therapy.
Miriam W. is an example of someone who didn’t feel good. She had been suffering with chronic pain for 10 years following a car accident. She had been to many practitioners and had chiropractic treatment for 1 year. After 3 treatments using Osteopathic Manipulative Therapy she was pain free. Sophia Z. was suffering with chronic pain after a mastectomy and chemotherapy for breast cancer. By addressing the source of her pain, she was pain free after 2 treatments. Not everyone has such a miraculous recovery in such a short time. Obviously, the need for follow up varies depending on your personal circumstances and the kind of injury. However, most people experience significant improvement within 5 visits.
Don’t let pain keep you from enjoying life.