Throughout my career, I’ve had the opportunity to set up a table and offer complementary manual therapies to people of all ages at a variety of events. From half marathons to local home expo’s and everything in between, I’ve been there. One of the most common phrases I’ve head from people passing by is “I’m not in pain so I don’t need a chiropractor.” Is this true? Let’s find out.
First, we need to talk about how our bodies process pain. Pain is produced when an injury occurs or an added stimuli occurs. Everyone knows what an injury is but what is added stimuli? The best example of this is when someone rubs your shoulders and with that added pressure you feel your shoulders are really tight and painful, but you didn’t realize that they were painful until the shoulders were rubbed. Once pain is produced our bodies release chemicals that travel into the spinal chord and up to our thalamus. From there, more chemicals are released and the nerve fibers from the thalamus travel to the cerebral cortex where then a signal is shot down our spinal chord to the area that is in pain, and that is how we feel pain. So, if there isn’t enough of a stimulus to get the pain receptors to fire, we won’t feel any pain. If the magical question is, if we can’t feel pain, is the pain still there?
The short answer in my opinion, is yes. Our bodies are awesome chemical factories and we have trillions of cells, millions of which are responsible for tissue repair. This is why most of us go day-to-day without having any pain! Now let’s revisit our opening question, if you’re not in pain, should you go to the chiropractor?
My opinion is yes, and here’s why. We use our bodies every day but how often do we use them efficiency? Not often enough. This inefficiency can and will lead to “wear and tear” on our muscles and joints, and even though they aren’t in pain at the moment, can lead to pain down the road. Our bodies work in alternating segments, mobile vs stable. A mobile joint as more than one primary rage of motion while a stable joint as one primary rage of motion. For example, our ankles are mobile while our knee is stable, followed by our mobile hips and stable low back. You get the picture. When we use our bodies inefficiently, this can cause our movement patterns to change which can accelerate wear and tear on our muscles and joints. A properly trained chiropractor can detect these imbalances and help correct them before any pain occurs!
So once you start seeing a chiropractor does this mean you have to go back for life? The answer is no! You don’t have to keep coming back, but most patients enjoy the benefits of seeing their chiropractor. I give my patients these two examples; first is we brush our teeth daily because we use them daily and we don’t want to get any cavities. Second, we change the oil in our car ever 5,000 or so miles so we can prolong the engine’s life. Our bodies operate in the same way. We use them daily so every once in a while, we should take care of it because it’s better to maintain something that it is to repair it. Life’s a marathon, not a sprint. Taking care of our bodies can lead us to enjoy a long and happy life, pain free!