by Melissa Diaz, DC

Pain is a complaint that I come across everyday when I am in practice. It is the main reason why people seek care, and in these times when wellness and prevention have become more popular – pain is still king when it comes to visits to the chiropractor. Doctors spend years in school understanding the complex body mechanisms that cause it, and the variety of approaches to lessen the discomfort – but many times even we forget that it is not the real cause of our patient’s problems. Pain is an interesting concept because although it exists in everybody’s life at one point or another, people rarely think about why it is there. It can be so overwhelming that the only concern of the doctor and patient alike is making it disappear. This is a dangerous thought process, because solely focusing on pain relief misses the point of it existing in the first place. It might be surprising for some people to hear, but pain is a good thing! Pain is the active language that your body and brain use to tell you that something is wrong, and it needs your immediate attention.

Pain is not something that people should just wish away. It should be the starting point of a journey to understanding your current health status. Having body awareness and knowing when something is amiss is vital for survival. Take this message that your body is telling you and make changes to improve your life. Sometimes an overhaul of lifestyle is what is needed. Change your diet, activity level, and most importantly change your outlook and attitude. I have had patients that have been living with pain for many years, and although they have great gains in function and abilities – their pain levels stay the same. What sets these patients apart from the rest is that they have become defeated by pain, and no matter what kind of intervention, medical or otherwise, they will not feel relief from it. Part of becoming healthy is not only taking the necessary steps to treat your condition and improving your lifestyle, but having a firm belief that you can (and will!) feel better.

Personal responsibility, proper care from a healthcare provider, and a positive outlook are the three things that everybody must have in order to overcome pain. Understand it, acknowledge it, and respect it – suppressing it and ignoring it will only guarantee that it will be your unwelcome companion for years to come.