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  • Writer's pictureDr. David satterfield

Chronic Pain, Your Nervous System, And Chiropractic

Chronic pain, nervous system, chiropractic


First, let's define what chronic pain looks like. A commonly accepted guideline for classifying chronic pain, is any pain that persists for 12 weeks or longer. While this definition might be too all encompassing, it does provide us with a timeline to start measuring the effects of persistent pain. It is important to not only to consider the intensity of the pain but also to understand that low intensity, long duration pain can have the samedetrimental affects on the body.

How Does This Affect The Nervous System ?

Pain is a input to the nervous system that the body is threatened. This begins the release of a cascade of endogenous chemicals to mitigate the pain response, start repair, and brace the body to protect from future pain. This signal from chronic and sometimes acute pain, places the nervous system in an excited state. It is when the nervous system remains in the excited state, it can becomes sensitive/more susceptible to this signal of pain. For many people, the nervous system can get "stuck" in this excited mode. THAT MEANS THE BODY IS FEELING PAIN EVEN IF THERE IS NO STIMULUS OR PAIN. The nervous system adapts and changes in people with chronic pain or sensitization of the nervous system. It is now easier for the nervous system to be excited by smaller levels of pain and is now constantly in a semi-excited state.

Central sensitization is responsible for many of the temporal, spatial, and threshold changes in pain sensibility in acute and chronic clinical pain settings and exemplifies the fundamental contribution of the central nervous system to the generation of pain hypersensitivity. Because central sensitization results from changes in the properties of neurons in the central nervous system, the pain is no longer coupled, as acute nociceptive pain is, to the presence, intensity, or duration of noxious peripheral stimuli. Instead, central sensitization produces pain hypersensitivity by changing the sensory response elicited by normal inputs, including those that usually evoke innocuous sensations

-J Pain. 2009 Sep


Can chiropractic help ? This answer is a resounding yes. Through carefully selected adjustments to affected areas of the spine and extremities, chiropractic adjustments restore motion to joints and provide a substantial input to the nervous system. This input of a chiropractic adjustment is often enough to reset the nervous system and brake the cycle of chronic pain. Chiropractic is a considered a first line treatment against chronic pain because it is effective, requires minimal intervention, and provides a way to protect against future episodes.

Just because you have chronic back pain does not mean you have to constantly be in pain.

Dr. David Satterfield, Chiropractor

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