Statistics on chronic pain in America will send chills down your spine:
- 100 million Americans suffer from chronic pain
- Annual cost of healthcare due to pain ranges from $560-635 billion
- Back pain is the leading cause of disability in Americans under 45 years old
- Over half of chronic pain sufferers feel they have little or no control over their pain
- Prescription painkiller overdoses killed nearly 15,000 people in the US in 2008 (3 times more than the 4,000 killed in 1999)
- From 2002-2007 the rate of complex surgery for spinal stenosis rose 15-fold and is reportedly more closely tied to money rather than outcomes
Even with all these ghoulish facts, I do not believe chronic pain has to scare you. Halloween is about tricks and treats, so let's look at the sweeter side of chronic pain:
- None of the chronic pain names above are actual diseases you can catch from someone else, they are merely names given to conditions, and conditions can change
- Conditions are considered progressive because that is what is normally seen because most people only treat symptoms not causes
- All of these conditions have to do with improper functioning of the musculoskeletal system which can be improved
- Your body is a living organism that is constantly rebuilding itself and healing can occur
I have personally seen clients with each of these seemingly progressive disorders go from having chronic pain to significantly less pain or even no pain. I have seen clients who were on 20 plus drugs for their condition become drug-free and pain-free. I have seen clients - who were told by several doctors that surgery is their only hope - avoid surgery and become pain free. How did they do it?
First by not being scared. Not being scared into thinking there is nothing they can do. Not being scared into thinking it will only get worse. Not being scared into aggressive or invasive procedures before trying simple common sense approaches first. Not being scared to voice their opinion and listen to their intuition and instincts.
Second, they decided that this is their body and they should take full responsibility for their health. They decided that since they got themselves into this condition, they can get themselves out of it. As Pete Egoscue said in his book "The Egoscue Method of Health Through Motion":
We are denying responsibility whenever that twinge in the knee is ignored, or when it sends us to the bathroom medicine cabinet for two aspirin tablets. Responsibility is denied when we blame the aching shoulder on tennis or "old age." All too often quick, costly cures and joint replacement surgery are used as ways to transfer responsibility. We must learn to recognize that the pain we feel, the stiffness, the lack of energy, the poor balance, the erratic concentration, or the inability to hit the long ball or the short putt aren't caused by the passing years, a second-rate golf club, or a bad day at the office: These are symptoms of dysfunctions brought on by lack of motion."
Postural Alignment Therapy is highly effective at correcting muscular imbalances, restoring functional joint movement, and relieving pain but it takes time, effort, and hard work on the part of the individual. Postural imbalances that cause chronic pain conditions take years to develop and will take weeks, months, and sometimes years to correct. But it can be done.
This Halloween you have a choice, let chronic pain scare you or treat yourself to the joy of a fully functioning and healthy body for years to come.