Chronic pain can have many sources: headaches, lower back, arthritis and other auto-immune conditions. It can also be a mystery. Seniors can often be stricken with chronic pain without having suffered any injury or for any identifiable reason.
It wasn’t that long ago that some physicians attributed pain with no apparent cause to psychosomatic issues; that it was all in the patient’s head. Now however, research indicates nerves in the spinal cord of those with chronic pain undergo actual structural changes.
The interaction between body, mind, and spirit may be most apparent when it comes to chronic pain. It causes more than physical discomfort; it can be emotionally devastating. Patients with chronic pain often report they feel limited when it comes to their family and social lives; being unable to do daily activities like cleaning the house, caring for children, or playing sports can cause a sense of isolation. Others may have to pick up the slack, which can lead to stress and strained relationships.
So it is not surprising the depression is the most common emotion associated with chronic pain. Research suggests people who suffer from chronic pain are also up to four times more likely to battle depression that the general population. The combination of chronic pain and depression tends to cause greater disability than either depression or chronic pain alone. That’s because chronic pain and depression can turn into a vicious cycle. Pain leads to more depression, which in turn can lead to more chronic pain.
Among the chiropractic treatment options is therapeutic massage, which spurs the production of endorphins, a type of brain chemical called a neurotransmitter that can ease pain and alleviate stress. Another neurotransmitter, serotonin, is also produced which at normal levels prompts feelings of contentment. Massage therapy also acts as a preventative because it inhibits the production of cortisol, known as the stress hormone.
Beyond chiropractic treatments, doctors encourage patients to stay active and not avoid activities simply because you may be in pain. Other useful techniques to help manage pain include relaxation training, hypnotherapy, and biofeedback to be used in conjunction with regular chiropractic treatments. Some research suggests that patients not responding well to anti depressants are among the best candidates for chiropractic treatment.
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