Everyone has felt aches and pains at one time or another. It’s something that can be triggered when stubbing a toe or overdoing it while exercising. Pain often becomes more complex in nature when it’s the result of a serious accident or injury. Whiplash, for instance, often produces symptoms that develop over several days or weeks. Regardless of what’s triggering the sensation of discomfort, the purpose of pain is still the same: to alert you that something is wrong.
Triggering the Pain Process
Whether it’s something in the lower back, neck, or big toe that triggers it, pain starts at the source of the injury or where tissues are inflamed. The body’s automatic response stimulates pain receptors. These receptors release chemicals that go to the body’s nerve center, the spinal cord. Pain signals are then sent to the brain to be interpreted in the cerebral cortex.
Understanding Different Types of Pain
The purpose of physical pain depends on what type of pain is being experienced. In broad terms, pain is either acute or chronic. Acute pain is a sudden type of pain, like what you might feel if you trip and fall and hit your knee. Chronic pain, on the other hand, is pain that continues for 3-4 months or more. This type of pain is common with back injuries.
Protecting You from Further Harm
Another important purpose of pain, whether it’s acute or chronic, is to protect you from doing further harm. Without the sensation of pain, we would all feel invincible. It would be easier to damage bones, joints, soft tissues, and nerves. Pain is akin to your body turning on a red light and telling you to stop. If pain continues, it serves as a noticeable internal alert that some attention is needed to address whatever is causing pain signals to be delivered to the brain via the spinal cord.
Overcoming Physical Pain
Recovering from physical pain sometimes involves nothing more than taking it easy for a few days. Pain management medications, including prescription painkillers and over-the-counter medications (such as ibuprofen) may help to reduce pain — not by eliminating it, but by “covering up” pain receptor signals. Ideally, this allows you to function normally while your body heals itself. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen.
Other times, the inflammation and nerve irritation associated with pain causes damage to tissues and joints that will require ongoing care and treatment. In the event that whatever triggered your physical pain was another individual’s fault, a personal injury lawyer may be able to secure compensation. With situations like this, a chiropractor may provide the supporting evidence a personal injury lawyer needs to determine if legal action is warranted.
Identifying a Source of Pain
Pain is sometimes temporary, as may be the case from a stubbed toe. Other times, pain becomes increasingly noticeable and distracting over time. It’s this type of pain that’s often evaluated by a chiropractor Gaithersburg MD trusts. Their role is to perform tests to determine what’s likely causing the discomfort being experienced and take steps to restore the body’s natural alignment and balance. There are many techniques this type of doctor may use to ease pain, including:
- Manual manipulations
- Chiropractic adjustments
- Therapeutic exercises
- Hot and cold therapy
- Patient education
In some instances, pain is caused by a failure to do a proper warm-up before going for a morning jog. However, pain is sometimes the result of a serious bodily injury and it’s a signal that the body is struggling to heal. If you’re experiencing pain anywhere in your body, a chiropractor may be able to help.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Pain & Arthritis Relief Center for their insight into the purpose of physical pain.