Living with pain can impact every aspect of life and lead to even more serious conditions. Here’s why chiropractic care for chronic pain can help.
Chronic pain is an increasingly common issue, with nearly 21% of American adults living with relentless aches and discomfort every day.
While painkillers and analgesic balms can help for little while, they don’t address the underlying cause of the pain. So, aches and tension return to ruin another day.
That is, unless you find a way to stop the pain from the root. Chiropractic care is one of the leading complementary therapies used to manage chronic pain – and for good reason. Chiropractic adjustments not only ease tension and relieve pain in the moment, but they help fix the underlying issues that keep pain coming back.
Twenty-two million Americans already turn to chiropractic care to heal their chronic pain. Could if work for you, too?
What is Chronic Pain?
Acute pain is a short-term protective response to injury, while chronic pain becomes a long-term issue, affecting your physical and emotional well-being. Chronic pain is often a more complicated condition, as it can be influenced by physical, psychological, and social factors.
It’s important to distinguish between these types of pain because your best path to healing will differ based on how long you’ve been struggling.
So, is that nagging pain in your back, hip, or neck just a passing discomfort? Or is it becoming a chronic issue? While pain conditions can vary widely from person to person, your pain has likely crossed over into the “chronic” territory if you’ve had it for a few months.
Key Characteristics of Chronic Pain
Chronic pain persists well beyond the expected recovery time of an injury, typically lasting for three months or more. This pain can be constant or “on and off.”
> Daily Life Impact
Beyond the physical toll it takes on your body, chronic pain can also negatively influence your daily activities, work commitments, and relationships.
You’d think a chronic condition would at least be predictable, right? Unfortunately, chronic pain doesn’t always follow a consistent pattern. Its intensity can fluctuate, with manageable days followed by more challenging ones. This variability makes dealing with chronic pain even more challenging, as planning and organizing your daily activities is never straightforward.
> Mental Health
Chronic pain is both a physical and mental condition. The daily challenges of living in pain can create emotional distress, heightened anxiety, brain fog, and even bouts of depression that affect both you and your loved ones.
4 Common Types of Chronic Pain
When you think of “chronic pain,” a sharp ache or lingering tightness in a specific area of the body typically comes to mind. This can certainly be the case, but there are several other ways chronic pain can manifest. Knowing the root cause of your chronic pain is key to getting fast and effective relief. Let’s look at 4 of the most common types:
1) Inflammatory Pain
The most common type of chronic pain is inflammatory pain. Inflammation is your body’s natural response to tissue damage, muscle imbalances, or underlying conditions like arthritis. While it can help in the acute phase, inflammation that lingers on can lead to chronic pain, swelling, and discomfort. Inflammatory-type pain is common around the joints and connective tissues, and may feel hot, angry, or make even simple movements like walking or standing-up difficult.
2) Psychogenic Pain
Sometimes pain is more complex than a simple reaction to an injury. Psychogenic pain doesn’t have a clear physical cause, but instead stems from the complex relationship between your brain, nervous system, and emotional state. Headache, back pain, stomach pain, and fibromyalgia are some common types of psychogenic pain.
3) Neuropathic Pain
If you’ve ever experienced a lasting burning or tingling sensation in an area of your body, you’ve likely suffered from neuropathic pain. This type is caused by damage to the nervous system, which makes it difficult for the brain to send signals to your extremities effectively. The result is pain, numbness, and general discomfort in these areas. Issues like diabetic neuropathy and trigeminal neuralgia are types of neuropathic pain.
4) Nociceptive Pain
Nociceptive pain is your body’s way of signaling to you that you have an injury, usually by creating a throbbing or aching sensation around an area with damaged tissue. This damage activates special nerve receptors called nociceptors, which are specially designed to alert you to your injury so you can take action to avoid further damage. Sometimes, however, these receptors keep sending signals long after the injury which results in lasting chronic pain sensations.
How Chiropractic Helps Ease Chronic Pain
From sabotaging your mental well-being and relationships to interfering with your productivity and goals, chronic pain has wide reaching effects beyond the ache. But perhaps more seriously, it can also pave the way for more serious health issues down the line. That is, when it is left untreated.
This is where chiropractic care can help.
If you’re struggling with any type of chronic pain, chiropractic care can help you find relief by addressing the root of the problem. Through manual adjustments and targeted techniques, chiropractors work with you to ease tension and promote better mobility so chronic pain not only subsides, but stays away.
Curious how chiropractic might help you? Here’s how a skilled chiropractor for chronic pain can help you live pain-free:
> Restore Balance with Spinal Adjustments
Spinal adjustments are the main technique chiropractors use to restore the body’s overall balance. Why focus on the spine? The spine houses your spinal cord and connects to all the spinal nerves that innervate the rest of your body. When the spine becomes misaligned (due to injury or just daily living), it puts pressure on the nerves which can trigger pain.
Chiropractors use gentle manipulations of the spine to realign your vertebrae and ease tension on the muscles and nerves. This process also promotes better communication between the brain and the body which further reduces pain and discomfort.
> Regulate the Nervous System
The nervous system is complex, and sometimes it needs to be recalibrated to function correctly. Chiropractors help to regulate the nervous system to quiet chronic pain by restoring appropriate pain perception and response. By optimizing your nervous system function, we can encourage healthier communication between the brain, calm overactive nerves, and remove the roadblocks causing persistent chronic pain.
> Relax Muscle Tension
Tight or imbalanced muscles don’t just cause muscle pain; they can also interfere with nerve and joint function. Chiropractors use hands-on techniques to target the tight muscles around your spine and joints and relieve tension. The goal is to reduce strain in those areas which can be causing misalignments and pressure elsewhere and stop the chronic pain you’ve been experiencing.
> Improve Joint Mobility
Along with eliminating your pain, your chiropractor is also focused on helping your body move as it was designed to. They’ll lead you through a range of tests to determine where issues like stiffness, restrictions, or blockages are hindering healthy movement patterns. Then, they’ll use adjustments or exercises to alleviate this strain on these joints and allow your body to move more freely and efficiently. This holistic approach not only helps heal your chronic pain, but reduces the risk of misalignments causing issues in the future.
> Reduce Inflammation
As we’ve seen, one of the biggest causes of chronic pain is your body’s inflammatory response to damage. Chiropractors help reduce inflammation by using precise adjustments to align the spine and joints properly. This helps alleviate stress on the affected areas to promote better circulation and reduce inflammation locally and throughout the body. Your AlignLife chiropractor may also share lifestyle recommendations, such as exercise and dietary changes, to help you reduce inflammation faster in-between visits and help you live a healthier life.
> Enhance Blood Circulation
The main goal of spinal adjustments is to correct your alignment and reduce pressure. But, they can also promote blood flow throughout the brain and body. Proper alignment reduces restrictions, which allows for better blood flow to the affected areas. Better blood flow means your body can effectively deliver essential nutrients and oxygen to your tissues for faster and more sustainable healing.
> Stimulate the Release of Endorphins
> Correct Your Posture
Is your posture increasing your pain? For many people with chronic pain, poor posture is both a cause and effect of living in discomfort. It’s not uncommon to adopt poor posture habits in an attempt to relieve pain or compensate for an injury. However, incorrect posture only makes chronic pain worse.
Along with helping you straighten your spine, chiropractic can help you build strength in the muscles and joints that keep you standing tall and moving correctly. By improving your posture, you’ll take the stress off muscles and joints that might be causing you pain.
> Learn Exercises and Stretches
> Leverage Complementary Therapies
In addition to chiropractic care, other holistic therapies can work hand-in-hand with to heal your chronic pain issues faster. For example, massage targets muscle tension and promotes relaxation, while acupuncture triggers tissue healing and nervous system balance. Your chiropractor may use these methods themselves, or refer you to a practitioner who can help.
> Offer Education & Self-Care Guidance
Spinal adjustments and manipulations are just one part of chiropractic care. What you do after your appointment can matter just as much. From ergonomic advice to dietary recommendations, chiropractors can help you make the right lifestyle changes to support your chronic pain recovery.
> Embrace a Holistic Approach
Like any problem in life, a long-lasting solution comes from addressing the root cause rather than just the obvious symptom. As we’ve learned, your chiropractor will use a range of techniques to help alleviate your most pressing issue, while also setting you up for success in the long term by promoting whole body health and alignment.
Relieve Chronic Pain for Good with Chiropractic Care
After weeks, months, or years of living with chronic pain, it can feel easier to brush it under the rug to deal with another day, or just accept your struggle as “normal life.” But with the support of chiropractic care, you don’t have to ache in agony forever.
AlignLife chiropractors are experts in fixing chronic pain from the root, no matter where your pain is, how long you’ve had it, or why it started. We use a holistic approach to ensure you not only get relief as quickly as possible, but that we set the stage for long-term well-being and a pain-free future.
If you’re ready to live without pain, we’re ready to help. Schedule a visit at an AlignLife Center near you to get started today!