REVEAL THE CULPRIT
Chronic pain is as mysterious as it is common. These tips will help you find the culprit behind the achy crime taking place in your body.
In the United States, everyday aches and pains plague nearly one fifth of adults. When these burning pains or stabbing pinches seemingly come from out of the blue, they are your body’s way of telling you that you need to pay more attention.
to free yourself from everyday pains, start identifying the culprits through learning to read the clues. Once you’ve ruled out any serious underlying causes through blood tests, MRIs, or X-rays, do your own detective work to trace the pain back to its trigger point. Investigate whether the cause is mechanical, chemical, emotional—or some combination of the three.
Pain that you’ve never experienced before can be menacing. The fear and stress from the unknown can aggravate your pain. Follow these five steps to help control your pain:
1. ASK YOURSELF: “WHAT AM I DOING WHEN I NOTICE THE PAIN BOTHERING ME THE MOST?”
No, this doesn’t mean you’re doing something wrong necessarily. So much of common daily life is,
by nature, structurally, chemically, and emotionally unbalancing. It’s impossible to preemptively anticipate every pain trigger.
But if you can identify activities or situations that make your pain worse, then you can take comfort in the realization that you are very much in control of your pain. This means you can be sure that there’s a way for you to resolve it. Knowing what makes your pain worse will give you a place to start troubleshooting how to make it better. That’s something you can work with!
2. BABY YOURSELF. DO NOT “SUCK IT UP, BUTTERCUP.”
Take note of any specific position or action that may be associated with your pain. This is a sure sign that you’re dealing primarily with a mechanical trigger. Once you identify the structural dynamics that make your pain worse, it’s important to give yourself permission to temporarily avoid them until your body heals or you find a way to reasonably modify those situations.
Avoiding pain has a real neurobiochemical payoff. Otherwise, by powering through it, you can teach your brain to get good at being in pain. This is where chronic pain starts—when you try to ignore it.
3. TRACK WHAT TIME OF DAY YOU FEEL THE WORST.
For example, if you wake up with more pain than you went to sleep with, then you might be dealing with a build-up of inflammatory fluids through the relative inactivity of the night. This means that no matter how long the pain has been bothering you, you will benefit from addressing the inflammation. Go get the ice pack.
4. CONSIDER ANY RECENT CHANGES IN YOUR DIGESTIVE SYSTEM.
You might be surprised how often I find out that the person lying on my treatment table for help with lower or mid-back pain is also struggling with one or more of a variety of intestinal upsets, like heartburn, diarrhea, constipation, or bloating. These conditions point to evidence that