Managing Back Pain
Many patients ask practitioners, If a person has pain in a muscle or joint, and waits long enough, will the pain go away; and if it goes away does it mean that the problem is gone?.
Many pain syndromes can gradually remit with rest and time, however if the cause of the problem is not corrected, this can
result in more wear and tear in the joint. This is one reason why covering up pain with chronic use of medication that masks symptoms can be more detrimental in the future. If a person covers up their symptoms with pain medication, they may be more active than what their body is ready for, thus causing more tissue damage. Likewise, if a persons pain tolerance rises and pain is not experienced, if good joint mobility is not maintained, that joint will atrophy or degenerate and become arthritic with time. Everyone has different pain tolerances and after a person experiences pain for an extended period of time, their pain tolerance or threshold will increase. On the surface, this sounds good to have a high pain tolerance, however, a person who has a high pain tolerance can tolerate more tissue damage before they experience pain and recognize that there is a problem that needs to be tended to. Many of us know the importance of obtaining general check-ups for our teeth, and physical exams which may include a blood test, chest x-ray, stress test, or an EKG, but neglect to have regular spinal check-ups. Our spine is a dynamic structure that can tolerate a lot of abuse before it starts to rebel. If a spinal segment is restricted, this will cause other segments to compensate and work harder and the disc can atrophy or degenerate, much like a muscle will atrophy if it is immobilized in a cast for several weeks. If a person has a disc that atrophies or degenerates, this will put them at risk for developing sciatica, spinal stenosis, extremity pain, tingling or numbness, recurring sprains and even a slipped disc.
We can prevent small spinal problems from turning into larger problems, by obtaining regular spinal checkups. Just like a
person with a small dental cavity can spare themselves much pain and suffering by identifying the problem in a general check up, correcting it, and avoiding greater decay and greater damage to the bone.
In conclusion, we can not resist to ask you this vital question concerning your health. Which approach are you taking? Are you waiting until you experience pain before you obtain your next spinal checkup, or are you pro-actively obtaining regular spinal checkups to identify small spinal problems and correcting them before they “find you”?