Pain is not a life style
As Americans we have learned to deal with many things. Dealing properly with
pain however is not one of them. As a society we seem to have a rather low threshold of pain. Compared to eastern cultures our concept of pain is quite different. Perhaps it is because we have been told time and time again through those informative mini-soap operas called advertisements that, "Relief is just a swallow away". Let us insert here that The U.S. is the only country that permits the advertisement of medicine directly to the public. So it does not matter if we are discussing disease, treatments, exercise, or injuries everyone knows..."just take something". This health (?) paradigm creates two problems. First, the utter intolerance of discomfort or pain without regard to the source of that pain be it good, bad, or a warning from one's body. Second, it creates a situation where the pain is not analyzed but tranquilized. That is to say, pain is seen as the condition; something you have to learn to live with, a daily inconvenience, a pest that is part of life and is quickly done away with a pill or potion.
The amount of pain medication prescribed and available over the counter is out of
control. Recent studies have begun to call for a reevaluated both the prescribed use and the over the counter availability. The American Heart Association (AHA) has joined the newly formed Alliance for the Rational Use of NSAIDs, a public health coalition that aims to bring more awareness to the health risks associated with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). They have found that about 98 million NSAID prescriptions were filled in 2012 and about 23 million people in the U.S. use over-the-counter NSAIDs on a daily basis. But these drugs are not benign; they can harm the kidneys, gastrointestinal tract, and cardiovascular system.( By Chris Kaiser, Cardiology Editor, MedPage Today, Published: January 06, 2013) Furthermore it has been stated that conservative calculations estimate that approximately 107,000 patients are hospitalized annually for nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID)-related gastrointestinal (GI) complications and at least 16,500 NSAID-related deaths occur each year among arthritis patients (The American Journal of Medicine, Roman Bystrianyk, More Hospitalized from NSAID Bleeding than All American War Casualties, Jan. 10,2010.) This figure is
similar to the number of deaths from the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome and considerably greater than the number of deaths from multiple myeloma, asthma, cervical cancer, or Hodgkin's disease. Pain medication was never supposed to be taken daily forever, it is not a vitamin or some nutritional necessity. No one gets headache or body pain due to a deficiency of aspirin, ibuprofen or Tylenol.
The truth is that by disassociating our pain we become out of touch with our
bodies. The pain mechanism is after all, a way by which the body communicates with the mind. There are so many levels that this communication is necessary. It is said that for one to grow emotionally it is necessary to leave your comfort zone.
How do we know then when we are reaching the limits of our comfort zone? Pain.
Be it from body or emotional pain if we swallow a pill to block that pain and
make us comfortable again... where is the stimulation to grow? The definition
of life is the ability to react to a stimulus. If we swallow a pill to block
that stimulus, are we limiting our ability to feel alive? There is a Buddhist
quote which states that," to live is to feel pain, whether you suffer is
your decision". Our inability to understand pain, to learn and grow from
it has ramifications for our overall health. As we can see through the full-spectrum of pain aversion from the abuser of the mild pain medication who ends up with arthritis due to overusing and abusing his body; to other end of the spectrum, the drug addict who self medicates himself into a downward spiral and early death.
Musculoskeletal symptoms were the number 2 reason for physician visits for pain. More than one in four Americans has some sort of musculoskeletal impairment. Approximately 15% to 30% of visits to primary care physicians in the United States and Canada; 20% of emergency room visits in the US; and 20% of nonroutine pediatric visits to physicians in Europe are for the purpose of addressing musculoskeletal complaints and injuries. Nevertheless relatively little
attention is devoted to musculoskeletal medicine in most medical school
curriculum. Of the 122 medical schools in the United States fewer than 50% required preclinical courses in musculoskeletal medicine. Fewer than 25% required clinical course in that subject area and nearly 50% had no required course, preclinical or clinical in musculoskeletal conditions as cited by the
Association of American medical colleges. Charles S. Day, MD, and colleagues at
Harvard Medical School conducted a survey and overall students did not feel
adequately informed to either examine the musculoskeletal system or generate a
differential diagnosis. In looking at the exam scores for muscle skeletal and
orthopedic material, students throughout years two through four had an overall
average score below the 70-percent passing mark. Only 7 percent of third-year
students passed the exam, whereas 26 percent of fourth-year students did so.
With this in mind we see that Chiropractic school requires 168 contact hours for
orthopedics whereas in most medical schools they dedicate 2 hours. Chiropractic
school require 243 hours of physiology; the workings of the human body,
musculoskeletal, biomechanics and kinesiology. In most medical schools they
require 174 hours of physiology with no requirement at all for biomechanics or
kinesiology. Chiropractic College requires 456 hours in anatomy mostly musculoskeletal anatomy, in medical school they require 215 hours. This is presented to clarify where each profession places it's focus. This by no means is a statement of superiority, only a statement of priority. The medical profession dedicates the great majority of their education in dealing with infectious disease, acute and chronic life-threatening conditions and surgery; which has no doubt contributed greatly to our longevity and overall health. We have shown here however that a great majority of pain complaints are documented as being from musculoskeletal sources. It only makes sense after seeing the studies presented that in these cases a consultation with your chiropractor before resorting to medicinal treatment is well advised.
Chiropractic has professed for over 100 years that the pain is only the symptom of another process occurring in the body. Chiropractic states, "find the cause, treat the cause." A pain in the left shoulder and arm may be alleviated by pain killers. But if that was the sign of a heart attack, does that sound like a good idea? Pain in the knee could be alleviated with pain medication. But what if the knee pain was due to a ruptured lumbar disk? We need to understand the pain to find the cause. We need to understand the mechanics of the human body in order to understand what isn't functioning correctly. Then we need to treat that cause with the treatment least invasive possible first. Primum non nocere is a Latin phrase that means, "first, do no harm", it part of the oath taken by all doctors. It means that it is always preferable to begin treatment with the therapy that has little or no side effects for the patient. Chiropractic offers this alternative.