What is Pain?
For the last four years I have treated hundreds of patients living in chronic pain. Through understanding joint and tissue health I have created a system of healing. This system allows relieves pain, corrects movement dysfunction, and gets people back in the gym doing the things they love.
It has also led me to places I did not know existed. Joint and tissue health is important. Educating patients on optimal ranges of motion empowers self-maintenance so they can help themselves. As my practice evolves however, I am learning that the pain people feel is not just the physical. It is deeper than the joints and tissues. In fact, the physical pain is only a third of the conversation. The mental and emotional component to pain is rarely discussed. Leaving it out of the conversation disrespects the system that leads to pain.
Pain, in fact, is an equation that involves the physical, mental, and emotional struggles of life multiplied by your perception of that pain. Yes, your perception of the pain matters. This means that lower back pain is the physical issue. However, combining it with a stressful day at work, traffic, and a hint of helplessness, compounds the amount of pain that you feel. Your self-worth has a massive effect on your lower back pain.
Phantom Limb Syndrome
At a half marathon for the Challenged Athlete Foundation I met an athlete with a below the knee amputation. He suffered from phantom limb syndrome, a neurological condition that creates severe pain for amputees in a limb that no longer exists. The pain is excruciating.
As he described his story, the pain he dealt with every morning, feeling his leg snap in half even though it did not exist, sent me on a chase to understand the neurological component of pain.
I detailed this athlete’s experience, how it relates to chronic lower back pain, and why healing goes deeper than the joints and tissues.