Pain Medication is
Not the Only Alternative

by: Dr. Mitchell Yass P.T.

When it comes to the treatment of chronic pain, there seems to be a consensus that taking narcotic, addictive medication is not a good choice. But what baffles me is what follows. There seems to then begin a discussion about which alternative form of treatment is a better solution.

Exercise, meditation, massage, vitamins, chiropractic care, physical therapy and a list of others fall into the mix. The discussion, although having the best intention, completely misses the point when it comes to treating chronic pain.

All of these forms of treatment continue in the same vain as medication, although not as potentially harmful. They are designed to minimize the awareness of pain. They are designed to treat pain.

This is the ultimate flaw with all of these forms of treatment. The problem is that they make no attempt to address the cause of pain. A simple question must be asked for this to be accomplished. Which tissue is creating the pain signal?

Pain is a signal of a tissue in distress. The distressed tissue is trying to create a conscious awareness of the problem so the person will provide an intervention to resolve the distress. Once the distress is resolved, the pain simply ends.

There are every day examples of this principle which can highlight the idea of treating the tissue, not the pain. To resolve pain from kidney stones, pass the stone and the pain ends. To resolve stomach pain after eating bad fish, pass the fish and the stomach pain ends. Pain associated with a cut will end when the cut is treated.

Pain at the neck, back, extremity or peripheral joint should be perceived exactly the same. If muscle is creating the pain signal, then only targeted strength training can resolve the pain. If a fractured bone or a torn ligament is creating the pain, then surgery to these tissues will resolve the distress and the pain ends.

One of the key reasons that chronic pain is not easily treated is because for the most part, the attempt to determine which tissue is creating the pain is achieved through diagnostic tests such as MRIs or x-rays. These tests have been proven to be so invalid that it is now recommended that they no longer be used to identify the cause of back pain.

Clearly if the improper source of the pain is being identified, all attempts to treat that source will not be successful, leaving people with only the choice of seeking alternatives to mask the pain.

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