The sensation of pain is nature’s way of telling you that something is wrong in the body. In many instances it’s also a reminder of an old injury awaking, still needing to be correction. Pain is what brings patients into the office, but its generally the last symptom to arise when there’s a problem and the first to dissipate during treatment. Meaning, just because the pain is gone doesn’t mean the problem is fixed. Pain medications and patches are merely a band aid of temporary relief, often only a chiropractor can alleviate the root cause. Some patients even elect to use chiropractic as a temporary pain relief but its much more cost effective when correcting the problem, then maintaining with regular check-ups.
So when should you see a chiropractor? Often people wish and wait for the pain to go away. Doing this can make the situation worse and a slight pain can turn into a debilitating condition. Pain occurring from a new injury can be more painful but tends to heal much quicker than a chronic pain. Chronic conditions tend to lay down scar tissue over time so the longer you’ve had a condition, the longer it can take to resolve. For that answer you’ll need to seek a professional and in my opinion sooner is always better than later.
1. Chronic Headaches
Headaches wreak havoc on majority of the population in some way or form and are so common to a point where most people think that they are normal to have, I’m here to tell you they’re not. One of the problems is that they can stem from many different causes or have different triggers. Often associated with headaches is muscle tension in the neck, at the base of the skull, and even shoulders.
Primary headaches are result of joint irritation and muscle tension and can be further complicated by a sedentary lifestyle. Chiropractic adjustments restore balance to the spine, nerve pathways, and surrounding musculature. This balance in turn takes unnecessary pressure off vital areas, thus reducing the pain and pressure that you may be experiencing. As mentioned above headaches have many causes and triggers so being evaluated by a chiropractor is the next step to getting to the root cause.
2. Poor Ergonomic Habits
Repetitive tasks or sitting for long periods of time will often promote poor posture and an uneven utilization of muscle groups. This whole concept is the reasoning for the push towards ergonomic work stations and the ability to sit or stand at your work desk. I personally teach my patients the importance of taking “posture breaks” and stretching the muscles that are causing imbalance.
Quite commonly developed are Upper Cross Syndrome and Lower Cross Syndrome, with most developing some degree of both muscle patterns. These include individuals with desk jobs but also often overlooked in children and college students due to them having to be seated for hours in class and studying. One portion of the imbalance being deemed “text/tech neck.” In reality this poor posture has been around for ages, they just came up with a new catchy word for bad posture. In each of these syndromes people develop muscle groups which become weak and stretched while others become overdeveloped and semi contracted.
Keeping your body moving is essential in leading a healthy lifestyle and if you aren’t moving then you’re falling behind. Having a repetitive job or one leaving you sedentary for prolonged periods of time will require you to seek care eventually. Chiropractors give your body the much needed “tune-up,” much like a mechanic does for your car. A lot can be done yourself to get relief, but a trained professional can diagnose and address the bigger issues. If you don’t use it, you lose it! And if you can’t move it, find yourself a chiropractor
3. Persistent Neck Pain
Poor lifestyle habits can lead to neck pain which can progress to neck tension and headaches. If you’re unable to remedy your own relief after a few days its time to see a chiropractor.
You may sleep wrong one night and wake up with neck pain or you may be involved in a car accident and develop neck pain years later unaware how it even came about. Of all the ways your neck might be hurting, the condition to look out for is that it is persistent.
Other symptoms that may accompany or take place of neck pain may include; head/neck/shoulder/arm/hand pain, radicular shooting pains, tingling/numbness, weakness, spasm, burning sensation, etc. The reason we experience symptoms in these areas with a neck problem is because the nerves that control the muscles and sensation of your upper limbs branch out from each segment of your neck. These nerves are also going to vital organs, which is why its always a good idea to see a chiropractor to make sure your body is functioning optimally.
Think about this, have you ever woken up in the middle of the night or in the morning and your pinky finger or part of your hand is numb/tingly? In this instance the nerves in the lower neck are being irritated. You don’t want to take any chances when it comes to your neck and spine. Whether its trouble turning your head, trouble getting through the day with the pain, or your stiffness doesn’t improve, see a chiropractor.
4. Lower Back Pain
We’ve all experienced lower back pain to some extent or another in our lives. In some instances, it hurts for awhile but then goes away on its own. If the pain persists and doesn’t go away after a few days or maybe even gets worse you should consult your chiropractor for evaluation.
For many of us there have been times that we have bent over to pick something heavy(or lightweight) up and quite frankly “over did it.” I myself can be placed into this category, specifically while weight training. Although you should expect some muscle soreness from the micro trauma to muscle fibers, that soreness should dissipate after a few days. If the pain persists there could be something more serious that needs attention.
One scenario is that you may have torn a significant amount of muscle tissue and now it needs time to rest and heal. Whether it’s a one-time traumatic injury or “the straw that broke the camels back,” there’s probably more to the injury than you think and it’s key for the tissues to heal correctly to regain stability. For me it was a combination of muscle imbalance and poor biomechanics of the low back that gave way.
There can also be more serious underlying issues referring pain to the low back. Any changes in your bowels, bladder, or sexual function can be a cause for concern and you should make an appointment with your local chiropractor to find the cause of your back pain.
5. Chronic Pain in Muscles or Joints
Proper motion is key for spinal health but that doesn’t mean athletes or people who exercise regularly are in the clear. An athletic lifestyle can lead to muscle and joint problems.
If you pay attention to sporting events you might spot their team chiropractor on the sidelines. We’ve come to a point now where sports are highly regulated and players are screened for performance enhancing drugs regularly. So what have athletes gravitated towards to gain an edge over their opponents? The answer is chiropractic!
Research shows that chiropractic adjustments improve the performance of athletes with nothing more than fine tuning of the spine and extremities. Adjustments not only provide pain relief from the physicality of the game but they also increase your body’s ability to heal. That means less recovery time and increased performance whether its running a mile or taking on the defense.
Now, let’s think about children. Do they play sports? How many times have they taken a hit or had a fall? Regardless if they are on a team or not your children are just as active as professional athletes and deserve the same care. Constant physical activity wears down and builds up your muscles. Occasionally, they never seem to build back up and as a result you are left with a chronic ache.
However, this is not exclusive to athletes or exercise. Joint pain can also be caused by an inflammatory disease of the body. Some may target the joints and some are inflammatory to the entire body. Proper evaluation can help come to a diagnosis and answers. Chiropractic can still offer great relief to these patients, in the meantime, try implementing a daily regimen of stretches and a low inflammatory diet. Joint pain isn’t necessarily something to lose sleep over but if it becomes chronic, you should seek professional advice.