Saturday, March 7, 2009
Pain As Self Defense
The human body is an incredible, well oiled machine, but every now and then a problem occurs and the amazing body kicks into Self Defense mode. Our body is equipped with an extremely sensitive protection system that reacts to the slightest changes in it's environment. Take for example the simple act of shivering. Shivering is a self defense mechanism turned on by your body when it senses it is getting too cold. Your body's thermostat signals the brain that it is in danger of a temperature drop that may be harmful. Within fractions of a second, the brain sends a signal down your spinal cord and out through your spinal nerve roots telling all the muscle groups to start spasming. This muscle spasm utilizes energy and causes the muscles to heat up, thus causing your body temperature to rise preventing injury to your body, brain, or organs. This happens without us even thinking about it. It is purely an innate response by your body. You couldn't stop shivering if you had to....your body has taken over to protect itself.
Pain is also a response by your body telling you that something is not quite right. When you move in a certain direction and your body screams "DON'T DO THAT," it is sending you a message that should not be ignored. It is not telling you to take pain killers or muscle relaxants to minimize the pain. Drugs and medications effect the body's natural responses and self defense mechanisms. By turning off or ignoring these messages, you are setting yourself up for further injury. Remember, symptoms (muscle spasm, headaches, pain, numbness, tingling, etc.) are there for a reason and by eliminating these symptoms you are allowing your body to do things, and move in certain ways that it was protecting against in the first place. You hear about athletes playing with injuries all the time. They take cortisone injections or pain killers to get through the game or the season only to find out he injury is worse than first expected. If the athlete had listened to his or her body and stopped playing, there is a very good chance the damage would have been minimized and the recovery time from the injury shortened dramatically. These athletes get paid millions to put their body's at risk, but that is not the case for the rest of us. If we suffer a major injury it effects our work, our quality of life, and even our emotional state(which will also effect our family).
The bottom line is this: LISTEN TO YOUR BODY.....IT KNOWS BEST! As a Chiropractor I help patients listen to their body and to understand the message it is sending. And, rather than just treating their symptoms, I find the cause of the problem causing those symptoms, fix the problem, and let the body do what it does naturally.....heal itself. The body is an incredible machine, but it is the owner's job to listen to it and to act accordingly, not to ignore the important messages it sends.
I look forward to future discussions about Wellness and the workings of the Amazing Human Body.
Yours in Health,