Why chasing pain is never a good treatment plan.

I have to admit it, I have gotten stuck in the “chasing pain” cycle with some of my patients and it usually never turns out well. They came in feeling a certain pain, and I had just wanted them to leave feeling better, so we worked to alleviate that pain rather than looking at what was causing it, which could be entirely different body structures.

In this scenario, what inevitably happens is that they leave feeling good but then they come back with the same problem the next session. The reason they come back with the same problem is that we haven’t uncovered the source or the “driver” of the issue, see sometimes what’s causing that pain is in a completely different area of the body.

As one of our therapists Keelin Regan-Reed writes in her book Fix It Yourself- A Self Help Guide to Treating Common Muscular Aches and Pains: “If you have a leak in your house, knowing where the leak is doesn’t fix the problem. You need to figure out how and why the leak happened. If the leak is coming from a faulty roof versus a cracked pipe in the wall, it will require completely different treatment approaches to get rid of the problem. The diagnosis of a leak in the wall will not be fixed with a new paint job or new wall plaster. These “fixes” will just cover up the symptoms of the water leak for awhile. Understanding where the leak started and stopping the leak at its origin is what’s needed to fix the leak and to prevent further damage. Similarly taking ibuprofen does not fix a muscle imbalance problem. It only temporarily relieves the symptoms of the problem.”

One of the reasons I was so enthusiastic when I was introduced to Keelin is that our philosophies are so in sync! She and I both look at our clients holistically and realize that there are many reasons a person could be experiencing pain, we investigate by getting to know our patients histories, looking at them thoroughly and evaluating their biomechanics to determine the root cause of the problem.

This approach is sometimes met with resistance from folks, which is entirely understandable. But when we explain ourselves and show them proof by moving a body part, supporting it and then asking them to repeat a movement without pain, that’s when they understand how it works. Case in point; years ago I had a patient come to see me with pain in his hip every time he would get out of a chair and stand up. I asked him to show me how he got out of his chair. Immediately I noticed the position of his neck and realized that something was terribly wrong with that area of his body. For that session, I did not touch his hip or back. I worked on his neck, the muscles, the joints, the alignment and I gave him an easy stretch/activity to do on his own. He was amazed and perplexed, his hip pain was gone.

It came back…but just a little over the next week, but it was about 50-60% less severe and less frequent. We continued to work his neck and we resolved his pain completely in 3 sessions. Granted, he needed to return for a few more sessions because he had to re-learn how to use his body properly so that his problem didn’t return. He was committed to the process of getting rid of the problem once and for all so he stuck it out through his prescribed treatment plan.

As practitioners we understand that patients are often frustrated with their situation and want to just get better fast, they sometimes however end up not trusting the process; want fast results or they want to abbreviate the amount sessions they have in order to save money and save time. Alas, this mentality of wanting a quick fix only gets them in trouble. They have found the cause of the pain, aligned the structures that were mis-aligned, the pain disappeared…BUT they didn’t train their body to stop the habit that got them there in the first place. They sometimes end up with the problem reoccurring and costing them more money and time overall. This is an unfortunate situation.

If you have got a nagging pain that just hasn’t gone away and you have tried other kinds of practitioners or even a PT who hasn’t really looked at you from head to toe, it may be worth giving us a call to chat about what’s been happening. We even offer a free in person, 20 minute Discovery Visit so that we can talk in person about what’s been happening with you and give you some advice on how to manage your problem or see if we may be a good fit to help you solve it with some treatment.

Give us a call 720-204-6546 or check out our website for some free reports we’ve written on various subjects, we’re here to help you figure out the puzzle of your chronic pain.

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