Why do I hurt, I didn't do anything?
You most likely have or had a subclinical condition that is now causing symptoms. A subclinical condition is a condition that is present but not advanced enough to cause symptoms or be detectable though conventional diagnostic methods. Current diagnostic techniques cannot always detect damaged tissue in conditions such as late whiplash syndrome, old sports injuries or previous slips and falls.
Subclinical conditions can cause seemingly unrelated health problems which we'll cover below, starting with early degenerative joint disease.
Early Degenerative Joint Disease
Early degenerative joint disease of the spine occurs when the joints can't move properly. Unfortunately you can't fix this on your own through stretching, yoga, or physical therapy. Stretching and exercise will reduce your pain levels but they won't get the joint moving properly, over time working out or stretching a damaged joint only causes more damage. If your tire is misaligned, driving it more won't fix it, it needs to be adjusted to track correctly. Same with your bones, if they are not tracking or moving correctly they will wear out, you won't feel the "wearing" process until a lot of damage has occurred.
How The Nervous System Becomes Hypersensitive To Pain
There is a close interaction between the bodies receptors for balance and coordination and the middle brain which controls all the information coming from the body. Chronic conditions & whiplash-type symptoms are a mismatch of information coming from the balance receptors of the body which confuses the brain. This continuous imbalance may create a permanent “hyperarousal” of the brain depending on the damage and sprouting of new nerve fibers in and around the damaged tissue. Some of the common symptoms seen in both acute and chronic injuries and whiplash patients are:
- altered pain perception (magnification of pain) with activity, pressure or rest
- depression-like symptoms with loss of energy or enjoyment
- abnormal muscle spasms (tight on one side only)
- brain fog
- jaw pain
- visual disturbances
- alterations in posture (one shoulder higher than the other)
Hyperarousal And Nerve Sprouting
Chronic conditions involving abnormal joint motion are more difficult to manage over time due to hyperarousal of the mid brain and nerve sprouting in the damaged area. These areas typically have little (bone) to no (articular cartilage) innervation when healthy. With injuries and chronic condition blood vessels and nerves initially grow into the damaged area to help promote and speed healing. Sometimes the nerves don't regress but grow deeper into the damaged area due to altered biomechanics (think wheel misalignment). The photos below show normal nerve innervation in healthy tissue and one of massive nerve in-growth into unhealthy tissue.
The green fibers are sensory nerves and the red fibers are sympathetic nerves
In chronic conditions, the injured area appears to be "healed" but, in reality the joints and muscles are not moving properly which causes an increase in mechanical signaling that causes hyperarousal of the middle brain. If you have an increase in signaling or hyperarousal of the nervous system, the body grows new nerves (sprouts) to better handle all this information. In chronic injuries, both the middle brain and the nerves become hypersensitive (fibromyalgia).
As the brain and nerves become "hyperaroused", the body starts to mistake mechanical signals coming from the joints and muscles as a pain signal. In other words, it takes less movement to cause a pain response and this pain response can increase over time. This is why you hurt when picking up your child or even laying in bed.
Often times there is little to no back or neck pain with radicular symptoms like sciatica or arm pain.
This is the frustrating part for patients and doctors alike. The doctors forget their first-year studies in biology, neurology, and spinal biomechanics that focus on the body as a whole and move into areas such as pharmacology and surgery. By the time they finish school, they only have a few options to treat all symptoms. If it's not working right, we'll medicate it, cut it, or send you to physical therapy.
How do you fix a broken body?
- X-ray motion study to identify which spinal bones are not moving properly
- Restore the normal motion to the spinal joints
- Strengthen the muscle around the now properly moving joint (Walking, Fitforce Gym, Crossfit)
- Stop the inflammation associated with poor lifestyle habits
Call (615) 826-7889 and ask McKenna how you can receive a full motion x-ray analysis, comprehensive neurological and orthopedic exam at no cost to you! Our usual rate for these services typically cost $249.00 or more.
Quit wasting time on procedures that don't work!