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Marcia B. Levi, DC
When Pain is "No Gain"
Optimal Care Chiropractic

When Pain is "No Gain"

Everyone knows the expression, “No pain, no gain.” People often use it when they are talking about the pain you experience when you begin an exercise or weight loss program. But when it comes to the experience of chronic pain, where is the “gain” in that? The fact is there isn't any.
It's a fact women experience chronic pain more often than men. Aside from female-specific chronic pain conditions, such as childbirth, PMS and pelvic pain, women are more prone to the same chronic pain conditions that also affect men. Those conditions include TMJ, headaches, osteoarthritis (degenerative joint disease), fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis.
Explanations for why women experience chronic pain more than men have traditionally focused on hormonal differences and female anatomy. Recent studies, however, have discovered that female and male brains are really quite different (as if we didn't know that already!)
It seems that there is a unique pain-suppressing circuit in men connecting their brains to their spinal cords. When a man experiences pain, this circuit releases endorphins that help to relieve pain naturally. However, this circuit doesn't release the same pain-reducing endorphins in women's brains; this explains, in part, why women seek help for chronic pain more often than men.
When it comes to treating chronic pain, many health care professionals advocate the use of over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription pain relievers. However, these only address symptoms and not the causes of chronic pain. And even OTC drugs, such as aspirin, ibuprofen and acetaminophen, can cause serious side effects, including nausea, vomiting, stomach bleeding, rebound headaches and serious liver and kidney damage. Prescription drugs have even riskier side effects.
An interesting point the studies that identified the differences in male and female brain circuitry may also explain why the sexes react differently to some medications and why women may experience certain mental disorders, such as depression, more than men.
So what choice do women really have when it comes to chronic pain, other than hit-or-miss medications with potentially serious side effects or just “dealing with it”? There is a natural approach to chronic pain that looks at its cause it doesn't just treat symptoms.
Every sensation of pain is sent to the brain through an intricate network of nerves nerves that begin in the brain and travel down through the spine out to all parts of your body. When a bone in the spine is misaligned, nerves become “pinched” or irritated, resulting in “faulty circuits.” This interference can cause chronic pain.
Chiropractors are trained to remove this interference by realigning the spine, which frees the affected nerves. When this happens, your body is able to begin the healing process and function as it is intended. When natural healing is allowed to take place, positive changes can occur and chronic pain is often reduced or totally eliminated.

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