When looking at options for chiropractic care, Montgomery & Prattville residents often have questions about the nature of chronic pain.

If you want to understand the experience of extended pain, the first step is to realize that it’s not just about aching and discomfort. Here are five other ways that people’s lives are impacted by long-term pain conditions.

1. People think chronic pain patients are hypochondriacs.

Pain thresholds differ from person to person, and surely there are situations in which disingenuous people will say pain is occurring when it’s not. However, in most cases, pain signals are firing within the body.

“The problem is that chronic pain is often caused by anatomical problems that are difficult or impossible to diagnose using standard medical tests,” explained Stephanie Burke of Spine-health, “and pain cannot be diagnosed like other medical problems (such as a broken bone that can be seen on an X-ray).”

2. Additional health issues are often involved.

A person’s psychological response to omnipresent pain frequently contributes to additional health conditions, creating vicious cycles. Pain can lead to depression; in turn, studies have shown that depression tends to intensify  pain. Similarly, chronic pain is often a cause of somnipathies (sleep disorders), and lack of sleep amplifies the sensation of pain.

3. They have their own pain story.

People communicate the experience of pain in diverse ways because the experience of it differs from one individual to the next.

The disparity between different patients’ symptoms is particularly noticeable with back pain. For instance, medical imaging might indicate that two people have an identical herniated disk, but only one of them has an intense pain response.

In other cases, doctors are unable to find any anatomical source of the discomfort. “It means that chronic pain often needs to be treated as the primary problem,” said Burke, “which is different than the conventional medical approach of identifying and treating the underlying problem causing the pain.”

4. Their pain is typically not a useful warning sign.

When you experience acute pain, as when you bump your head, pain is serving its natural purpose as an alert mechanism.

Chronic pain, however, typically involves nerves firing repeatedly even though there is no obvious root cause of the problem. In fact, the central nervous system starts to assume the pain neurotransmitters will arrive – so even once you alleviate pain from the site where you are directly experiencing it, the spine often must be retrained as well.

5. Chiropractic care can help.

Chiropractors specialize in the treatment of chronic pain. When in need of chiropractic care, Montgomery & Prattville patients trust the team at Health Star Clinic, where our programs provide the body the resources to heal itself without surgery or medication.