Why Do I Hurt? I Didn't Do Anything!
Your day's going well, nothing too much going on when, all of a sudden, your back pain goes from stiff & sore to sharp and burning. The pain can shoot down or radiate into your butt and leg or shoulder/arm and cause numbness and tingling. You'll think what happened (WTH)? Why did this happen? What should I do? These are questions that run through our mind as we try and make sense of what's going on. Here's what might have occurred.
You had a hidden condition that you didn't know about.
These are conditions you don't know you have until they are triggered or become bad enough to cause pain. If there is a cavity in your tooth, you won't feel any pain until it hits a nerve or you drink cold water. The pain you feels is caused by the cavity, not the cold water you drank. The pain in your neck, back, arm/shoulder or butt/leg is caused by a pinched nerve, not as much by what you did but what you have, a spinal problem pinching or pressing on a nerve. Medication can cover it up, exercise might offer temporary relief, but this won't correct the pinched nerve. The only profession that can correct this is Chiropractic.
Where do pinched nerves come from?
Spinal problems come from trauma, both minor and major, that move the joints out of their proper position. The body, in trying to correct this problem, will create muscle spasms around the joint to protect it. Now the joint is out of alignment, irritated and locked into a bad position. You won't feel the joint problem or subluxation, but you will feel the muscle tightness and stiffness. Most folks will think, I should stretch, exercise or get a massage. All good things to try but it won't fix the problem. Same with brushing and flossing, it will help but it won't fix a cavity. Over time, you continue to move around this locked joint which will start to wear it out (repetitive stress syndrome). A great analogy is, when you hit a curb with your car, you'll knock one tire out of alignment while the others just fine. You don't feel this misalignment while you're driving but, over time, your tire will wear out. This is what we see on x-rays, one worn out joint surrounded by normal healthy joints. This is what we call spinal arthritis (degenerate joint disease, disc bulging, herniation).
How The Nervous System Becomes Hypersensitive To Pain
If you stay out in the sun too long, you'll get a sunburn and your skin will becomes tender and sensitive to the touch due to the inflammation. Locked or abnormal motion in the spine can cause inflammation (just like a sunburn) that, over time, develops into pain, tenderness and muscle spasms. Locked or misaligned spinal joints, plus the inflammation, causes a barrage of mixed signals that eventually overwhelm the nervous system. This causes the brain and central nervous system to feel more pain than it should. It gets upset and “hyperaroused”. It takes less movement or pressure to cause pain and discomfort. The hyperaroused/hypersensitive nervous system will start to affect other systems such as digestion, elimination and balance. Some of the common symptoms we see with spinal problems in both acute and chronic injuries 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
Some conditions are harder to manage than others due to hyperarousal or hypersensitivity (irritation) of the nervous system and nerve sprouting. Nerve sprouting occurs in two ways: one with injuries and the other with increased signaling.
Damaged joints and nerve sprouting
When the spine is injured, new nerves and blood vessels grow into the damaged area to help facilitate healing and recovery. This is most commonly seen in the disc area and posterior part of the spine (facet joints). As more nerves grow into the area, it takes less movement, less pressure to stimulate more nerves. We now have a hypersensitive nervous system with more nerve endings to trigger, more things to make you hurt.
Time for some crazy neurology so hang in there as it gets a little deep.
Spinal joints that are not moving properly cause irritation of the surrounding tissues and increased mechanical signaling. As the dysfunction increases (abnormal motion), the frequency of signaling also increases. The nerve grows new connections so it can handle this increased signaling just like your muscle grows to handle increased weights or workouts. When you combine the newly sprouted nerves with a nerve that can now transmit more information, you have the beginnings of a chronic condition.
But wait, there's more!
The brain is now receiving more signals than before and it starts to confuse mechanical signaling (proprioception, where your body parts are) with pain signals. It doesn't know what's going on at this point and see's everything as pain.
This is what causes Fibromyalgia
How do you fix a broken body?
- X-ray study to identify which spinal bones are not moving properly
- Restore the normal motion to the spinal joints
- Strengthen the muscles 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!