PAIN: Why Pain Is Your Friend And Not The Enemy!
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PAIN: Why Pain Is Your Friend And Not The Enemy!
Welcome to the Peak Performance Podcast
I’m your host Dr. Marc Dupuis on this show we discuss tips, tools and strategies for optimizing athletic performance, overall health & wellness!
Today’s topic is Pain! Pain is the number one reason people seek medical care, however, despite how common it is, pain is the most poorly understood and unfortunately the most poorly handled of all symptoms.
In our modern society we have been mis-lead to believe that pain is bad. Pain is something we must eradicate or kill as quickly as we can, hence the wide variety of painkillers found in every drug store, grocery store or even convenience store and the number of prescription painkillers are too many to name, included in this class of drugs are the deadly Opioid drugs, which in the US ALONE kill over 47,000 people per year!
In reality, pain, is not bad at all! In fact, pain is a GOOD thing and not only is it a GOOD thing, Pain is very IMPORTANT! Yes, it is, now why do I say that …. Think it about this; Pain is a message from your body to your brain telling you that something is not right. Pain is a check engine light for your body. Because pain is your body’s way of letting you know that something is not right with your body, the last thing you should do is rush to cover it up without addressing what it is that IS wrong. Consider the following example: You buy a new car and one week later the check engine light comes on. So, you take your new car back to the dealership where you bought it, and they take it in to their service bay. Five minutes later the service manager comes out and tells you the following, “I fixed the problem, I covered up the check engine light with a nice thick piece of electrical tape. You will no longer be bothered by that light. Have a great day”. Now what would you say to this person? Of course, you or I would never settle for that fix! We would want to know WHY the check engine light was on and what truly needs to be fixed and then we would not be satisfied until the problem was properly corrected. Right?
Still not convinced about the danger of being quick to cover up pain? Here is another example; You wake up in the middle the middle of the night to the sound of smoke alarms going off. You jump out of bed, smelling smoke, you call the fire department and rush outside. 10 minutes later the fire department arrives, by now there are flames in the basement. The firefighters rush inside, grab all of the smoke detectors… and come back out. Then, they break all of the smoke detectors so they are no longer making any noise. The fire chief turns to you and says, “there, that should do it. You will no longer be bothered by those alarms”. The firefighters pack up & leave, meanwhile your whole house Is now going up in flames! Would you be cool with that response? Of course not, but think about it. Really think about it. Every time you have pain and quickly run to the medicine cabinet and take either an OTC or prescription drug to make it go away but do NOTHING to address the underlying CAUSE of your pain, you are treating your body just like that service manager wanted to treat your car and just like those firefighters treated your house! Really, it’s true! This is true for all types of pain.
Now think about this, how many people go to pain clinics every day only to receive drug after drug or injection after injection yet for most of these suffering people their pain never does go away permanently because the CAUSE has not been addressed. The sad reality is; despite the pain care providers having the best of intentions as they trying to alleviate their patient’s pain, since they are not focusing on the underlying CAUSE of the pain, the patient’s body will continue, in vain, to send pain messages to the brain until the true problem or problems are addressed. This is exactly why people often need stronger and stronger drugs to cover their pain, their bodies are working exactly as they have been designed to work: Their bodies are desperately trying to get the person’s attention so the pain signals have to become stronger and stronger to overcome the drugs or injections that are trying to simultaneously block those very same pain signals.
I want to share some words of wisdom from the late Dr. Fred Barge, specifically an excerpt from his book “One Cause One Cure”, chapter 3 which is aptly titled, “Pain”
So there you have it folks, it is long overdue that we as a society shift how we think about Pain. If we really want to live a long & healthy life, it is imperative that we see pain, not as something bad that must be covered up at all costs, rather we need to see pain for what it really is; a very important “check engine light” for our body that indicates the need to take some action to address an underlying cause, thereby allowing the body to actually recover and or heal and eventually after that to return to optimal function.
What are some of the most common actions that need to be taken? Here are the top 6 most common action steps needed to address pain. 1. Have your spine & extremity joints checked for subluxation (simply put, the chiropractic subluxation is a joint that is not properly moving). If any subluxations are found, get adjusted to correct the subluxations. Pain is often an indication that there is subluxation in one or more joints. Joint dysfunction in the spine is a common cause of neck pain, headaches and back pain. Subluxations in extremity joints such as the foot and ankle can cause changes in the gait which can result in pain in the foot/ankle, knee and or hip joints. Meanwhile subluxations in one or more joints in the shoulder and or arm can cause pain in the hands, wrist, elbows and shoulders. 2. Rest. In our go, go, go society, many of us are overworked and many athletes are overtrained. Rest is when the majority of healing & regeneration occurs. The most important form of rest is sleep. Adults need 8 hours per night plain and simple. Adolescents need 9-10 hours per night. For more information on this topic read the book, “Why we sleep” by Matthew Walker PhD. 3. Clean your diet up. The standard American diet (SAD) is based on inflammatory producing refined grains & sugars. For more information on this topic read the book, “The Paleo Cardiologist” by Dr. Jack Wolfson, he was a guest on The Back to Health Chiropractic Podcast episode 21. 4. Exercise. Our bodies are designed to MOVE. Sitting is the new smoking. Movement promotes the flow of blood & lymph throughout out the body, movement improves oxygenation to all of our tissues including the brain! 5. De-stress. Excessive stress can is linked to most chronic disease. Take time each day for meditation, prayer, yoga, reflection. Lastly: 6. De-toxify. Post WWII there have been over 87,000 new chemicals released into our environment, many of which have been shown to cause inflammation and cancer. Eat a diet rich in cruciferous vegetables, drink plenty of clean, filtered water and if possible, use a sauna on a regular basis to encourage the body’s own detoxification systems.
I hope this sheds some new light on Pain and on what we need to do when we have pain. Let us know what you think, please leave comments on our show notes page which can be found at: www.thepeakperformancepodcast.com
Thank you very much for listening & have a great day!
Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker, PhD
The Paleo Cardiologist by Jack Wolfson, DO, FACC
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