Chronic Back Pain.
What does it mean?
Believe it or not, pain can be a good thing. Experiencing pain is a necessary part of being human as it serves the vital function of eliciting avoidance. The nervous system triggers a sensation of pain to let you know that something is wrong and to stop you from doing something that might cause a serve injury. Your body intelligently alerts you to the fact that you need to stop, rest, modify or wait. It is imperative that this process is respected and that our conscious brains don’t foolishly attempt to ignore.
So, what then should we do about back pain? Unfortunately many people look first to analgesics (pain killers). While severe pain obviously needs to be managed and relief given if possible, popping a pill for a less significant concern could cause more harm than good. It is important to remember that pain killers don’t correct or cure the cause of the back pain. They simply block off the pain signal to your brain so that you no longer receive or interpret that pain message. This can be dangerous as it may draw you in to a false sense of security about your current physical state and allow you to do further damage. Often people will take pain medication to allow them to continue a physical activity that their body is desperate to avoid.
This can lead to back pain, severe damage and chronic conditions that may have been avoided had they listened to their body’s signals earlier on. Another very serious concern about taking pain medication is the amount of unpleasant and often dangerous side effects. Medication always has a negative impact on your system so it pays to weigh up the pros and cons before taking any type of medication. Being fully informed allows you to make the best possible decision and determine what is best for your body at that moment. While there is most definitely a time when medication is both necessary and helpful, it is not particularly valuable when used simply to block back pain signals so you can continue doing something that is obviously aggravating your body. There’s really not a lot of point in taking pain medication if you don’t plan on doing anything else differently. If you have broken your leg you wouldn’t try and weight bear on it would you? No! Because that would cause you a lot of pain which is exactly what it should do! Your body is protecting your leg from bearing weight to ensure that you rest and allow your body to heal the fracture correctly. Clever
So, what should you do when you body is struggling and needs some time out to recover? Be patient! Healing takes time but allowing your body the break it needs to heal is the sensible choice. Of course, if your pain continues to persist or increases make sure you see your regular health practitioner to ensure it doesn’t require any further investigation. Often your body just needs time to slow down; while at other times it may require you to modify a daily habit or lifestyle choice e.g. drink more water, get more sleep, or reduce a repetitive action. Give your body the TLC it is asking for and you’ll be back on track in no time!