Chronic pain is constant, ongoing pain that will occur for at least 50 percent of the time in a six-month period. While cancer and nervous system injuries can cause chronic pain, it can also have no diagnosable cause and affects children, adolescents, adults, and the elderly. Chronic pain does not discriminate.
WHAT IS CHRONIC PAIN?
Think back to the last time you were healing from an injury, even if it were a bruise from hitting your hand or a scraped knee. You felt pain for a few days or weeks, but then it went away as the injury healed. Chronic pain is feeling pain long after a wound heals, or even for what appears to be no reason at all.
Your spinal cord and nerves become sensitive, and even with no damage, enhances messages to your brain to tell you to feel pain in certain areas. In essence, your nervous system is alerting you that you’ve injured a part of your body when you’re actually completely okay.
What can often make chronic pain worse is when it begins to enhance pain in areas of your body where there once were injuries that are now healed. You now feel both the old pain and new pain, exacerbating the situation.
While chronic pain often has no cause, there are scenarios where it does – such as from
cancer or neuropathic pain. When you are involved in an accident or sustain an injury resulting in nervous system damage, you can permanently damage your nerves. As a result, areas of your skin may tingle, feel numb or as if they’re burning, or you may experience sharp, shooting pains.
HOW DO YOU FIX CHRONIC PAIN?
Anyone who has ever had chronic pain wishes there was a cure, but unfortunately in many cases there is only a way to manage it. The most effective way to manage chronic pain involves a multidisciplinary approach and there are many drug-free therapies that can be helpful in reducing many types of pain. Because everyone is different there is no one right answer. It is best to try for yourself to see what works best for you.
TALK TO YOUR CHIROPRACTOR
When you see your chiropractor about chronic pain, part of their job is to learn about your personal situation, how you manage your pain currently, and what youfind does and does not work for you. The more detailed you can be, the more your chiropractor can help.
Chronic pain can rule your life, but it doesn’t have to. You can make an appointment with your chiropractor to discuss which drug- free and non-invasive methods may be best suited for your chronic pain. The goal is to live your life to the fullest, where you’re in control of the chronic pain – it doesn’t control you!
The curiosity of cramps
A muscle cramp, also referred to as a charley horse, is a painful muscle contraction that usually occurs in your lower legs. Many people get them after exercise, but some people suffer from muscle cramping for seemingly no reason at all.
Ever hear someone say that cramps are caused by a lack of salt? For quite some time it was suggested that dehydration and electrolyte imbalance caused cramps. This theory is based on mostly observational evidence, so while there may be an association, it hasn’t been proven. And surely if it were true wouldn’t all the muscles in your body be affected?
What researchers have determined is that cramps tend to happen in muscles that are actively used and especially those that cross more than one joint. Cramps also occur more often at the start of a sports season when muscles have had less use, and at night in people who are inactive.
Fatigue is believed to be a contributing factor, particularly in endurance athletes who need to have fast-contracting muscle fibres. Muscle cramps also appear to affect men more than women. This may be due to men having more fast fibres, or that women don’t get as tired during the same level of exercise intensity.
Even though there is so much left to discover about cramps, there is evidence to suggest they affect some people more than others.
Nocturnal cramping is prevalent in the elderly, and pregnant women notice cramps to be higher in intensity during the second and third trimesters.
With so many theories and little evidence, it can be hard to offer a solution. The once widely accepted solution of taking magnesium and salt tablets is now questionable, and stretching the contracting muscle may end up causing further harm.
Should you experience a cramp, the best immediate action you can take is to stretch the muscle opposite to (in the muscle pair) the cramping muscle. Additionally, if fatigue is thought to be a factor, plenty of fluids and electrolytes may also be of assistance.
Clutter calamity: What is it doing to you?
Clutter in your home is more than only a nuisance. While piled-up dishes and washing on the sofa is an eyesore and obstacle in your house, it can also cause a whole host of problems with your body and brain.
The human brain naturally prefers order, which means everything has to have its place – your physical items and mental thought processes included. If your home is full of things that don’t make you happy, you can struggle to focus, sleep, and remain calm.You are also less productive, meaning you are possibly more likely to watch shows about decluttering than undertake the process yourself.
The human brain reacts to its physical environment, and if it doesn’t like it, it lashes out by way of affecting your emotions, relationships, and cognition. Neuroscience researchers found, however, that if you clear clutter from your life, you can increase your productivity, improve your information processing ability and capacity to focus.
Clutter affects your body too. Many studies found that people with disorganised environments ate more snacks and were nearly 80 percent more likely to be
overweight. Dealing with clutter also uses up your survival instinct resources, affecting your immunity to bugs and increasing your risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
For those with a hoarding disorder, clutter can cause physical pain – especially when it comes to throwing items away. Fortunately, cognitive behavioural therapy could be a valid treatment method for this condition.
If you decided back in January that 2019 was going to be your year, then consider the benefits of simplifying your life. Take a critical look at your house and contemplate expert help if you need it.
At a stretch
GENERAL TIPS FOR STRETCHING
To help effectively stretch the muscles
- Do not force the body into difficult or painful positions—stretching should be pain free.
- Move into a stretch slowly and avoid bouncing, which can cause muscle strain.
- Hold stretches long enough (15 to 30 seconds) to adequately lengthen muscles and improve range of motion.
- Repeat a stretch between 2 and 5 times.
Basic stretches for neck pain are convenient enough to be done on a regular basis throughout the day, such as at home, at work, or even in the car. Some examples include:
- Lie on the floor or a bed with knees bent
- Gently lift legs to the chest with your hands
- Slowly rock from side to side
- Rest one arm against a wall or doorjamb
with the elbow slightly above the shoulder.
- Turn head to face the opposite direction.
- Bring chin down toward the collarbone to feel a stretch in the back of the neck.
• Slowly bring your chin down toward the
chest until a stretch is felt in the back of your neck.
EAR TO SHOULDER
(Lateral flexion stretch)
• Tilt your head to one side, as if trying to
touch your shoulder with your ear, until you feel a stretch in the side of your neck.
• Keep your shoulders down and back, in a comfortable but healthy posture.
CHEST AND SHOULDERS(Corner stretch)
• Stand facing the corner of a room.
• Place forearms on each wall with the elbows around shoulder height.
• Lean forward until a stretch is felt under the collarbone.
Stretches that are not recommended include neck circles (where the head is repeatedly rolled around the neck) or quickly stretching the neck forward and backward or side to side. These stretches may cause muscles strain or place additional stress on the cervical spine.
Happy spine, happy you
Your spine protects your spinal cord, nerve roots, internal organs, keeps your balance, provides structural support, and gives you full, flexible motion. If you find yourself struggling with aches and pains, could it be possible that you need to do the following?
KNOW YOUR ERGONOMICS
If you spend the majority of your day sitting (and possibly slouching), then you may like to make a few changes to benefit your spine. Did you know your lower spinal discs are under a lot more pressure when you sit down? Take breaks and walk around often, while making sure you have an ergonomic chair and computer setup. Consult your chiropractor to find out how you should set your computer up to benefit your entire body.
Your spine receives its support from your abdomen muscles
and lower back. If these muscles are weak, your spine suffers. A chiropractor can recommend some beneficial and targeted exercises to carry out every day to strengthen these muscles.
WEAR QUALITY FOOTWEAR
Whether you’re going for a jog, a walk, or you’re pacing around your office, make sure your shoes are benefiting your spine. The best pair of shoes provides a snug fit around the heel area. If you struggle to get the correct support your spine needs, talk to your chiropractor about shoe orthotics.
After a full day of keeping you upright, your spine needs some rest. For that, you need the most comfortable bed and mattress possible. If you find yourself sleeping funny or waking up with a sore back, consider purchasing a new, supportive mattress that encourages a favourable sleeping position. The best pillow and mattress is often a
personal choice but opt for one that rests your neck and spine in a natural position.
SEE YOUR CHIROPRACTOR
Your spine is something you should not take for granted. If you’re struggling with back pain or spinal discomfort, consulting a chiropractor means receiving advice from a highly trained health professional who specialises in matters of the spine. They can identify any problem areas and recommend a tailored treatment plan. A chiropractor can also suggest beneficial exercises to encourage blood flow and speed up healing.