Dr. James C. Spaulding

Chiropractor - Edinboro, Pa.

106 Waterford Street • Edinboro Pa 16412 • Send E-Mail
Instrument Adjusting Certified
Phone: (814) 734-3422
Understanding Pain, Injury and Healing - Part 1
I believe that the more we understand about our own bodies the better.

In fact, we all need to take responsibility for our own health because, face it, nobody cares more about your health than you do. It is not something that we should trust, entirely, to anyone else including doctors.

I am a doctor of chiropractic. I see people in pain. Most of the individuals I treat don’t really care about the mechanism of pain, they just want to get rid of it. I understand completely.

For those of you who do have a need to have a better understanding, Part I of this topic will deal with pain, Part II with the healing response.

Pain is a good thing. No, I am not a sadist or a masochist! I believe that our Creator provided us with the capacity of feeling pain for a very good reason. Consider what the absence of pain sensation would actually mean. There are a few rare individuals who are born with no ability to feel pain. What usually happens, if they are not vigilant, is that they repeatedly injure themselves, sometimes severely, without knowing it.

An example of this is Hanson’s Disease, sometimes referred to as modern-day leprosy. It was once thought that this disease caused fingers and toes to just “drop off” over time. In reality, the absence of pain sensation in these individuals predisposes them to tissue abrasions, cuts, and burns which ultimately cause the destruction of those tissues.

Pain is the body’s alarm system. When I touch a hot stove my reflex response is to pull away immediately….a good thing.

Why is it that some pain goes away quickly, while some pain lingers? The answer to that question lies in the fact that there are actually different categories of pain. There are essentially 3 types of pain, each with a different etiology (cause,) treatment, and prognosis (likely outcome.)

Type I pain is a response to a mechanical compression of a nerve. If you were to pinch your skin, firmly, you would feel pain which would be relieved when you let go (unless you pinched too hard and bruised yourself.) This is the type of pain that keeps us alive, and is potentially with us all day long. Type I generally requires minimum care, and the prognosis is good.

Type II pain results from the inflammation of tissues which are torn or damaged in some way. In contrast to Type I, it would be the difference between a slap in the face (that may leave some temporary redness,) and a punch in the face, that leaves swelling and ultimately bruising due to tissue bleeding. With accidents, such as whiplash or lifting injuries, tissue will tear and bleed. With proper care, 80-90% of Type II pain will resolve inside of 6-8 weeks, and the prognosis is still fair to good, depending on the extent of the damage.

Type III pain is chronic (long-standing and recurring) pain. Depending on the authority one may read, chronic pain is pain lasting 3-6 months or longer. A minimum of 10% of people experiencing Type II pain will go on to develop chronic and even debilitating conditions, even with proper care. Many factors may contribute to the development of chronic pain, including systemic diseases such as arthritis, fibromyalgia and Lyme disease. Other things, such as extended periods of stress, previously untreated injuries, and long-standing poor posture (possibly job-related) may contribute as well. Although physical medicine treatment (such as chiropractic) can help, sometimes considerably, Type III pain usually has only a fair to poor prognosis.

Ignoring pain, much like ignoring the warning light in your car, is a mistake. In Part II of this series, we will discuss the process of healing and the importance of proper and early treatment.

Dr. Jim Spaulding is a full-time practicing chiropractor of 37 years. He has written numerous articles on the subject of diet and exercise.

© 2013 Dr James C. Spaulding. All Rights Reserved.