Chronic Pain and Fatigue: Do You Believe These Are Normal as You Age?

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When I meet with patients, I might ask, “If you found yourself stuck in a hole, what’s the first thing you would need to do?”
 
They may look at me with a confused expression and then say, “Climb out, of course.”
 
But the first thing they must do is this: Stop digging. They need to see their problem in a new way before they can find their way out.
 
In the same way, many people think that pain and fatigue are a natural part of aging. But this is simply not true.
 
Open your mind to a new possibility. What if getting older doesn’t mean becoming stiff and prone to pain and injury? What if your body could restore some of the elasticity lost through aging, stress, and a modern sedentary lifestyle?
 

Why symptoms are not the whole story

Let’s say you, like so many people who come to my office, struggle with chronic pain and its effects. Do you take pain medication, whether Tylenol (acetaminophen) or prescription drugs, and lay on the couch with a heating pad or ice to control the symptoms?
 
The common approach often misses the mark.
 
While it’s natural to ask, “How can I stop this pain?” the real question is, “What is my body trying to tell me?” Let’s get to the root cause of disease and pain, which is different for different people. Once you ask the right question, you can give your body the support it needs to heal itself.
 
Once you do that, guess what? Pain will naturally subside.
 

What can functional medicine do for you?

As a functional medicine practitioner, I work with you to decode your body’s unique language. We address the root causes of pain and related symptoms, which are unique for each individual.
 
To do this, I apply complementary therapies. We look at the constellation of symptoms, which may have one or a variety of causes. We look at the body and mind together, as they relate to all the systems of the body.
 
With a functional approach, I also employ:
 
  • Unique chiropractic adjustments: Targeted adjustments affect the nervous system in specific ways to foster your healing. Different from traditional chiropractic adjustments by retooling the nervous system while strengthening the body and its connective tissues.
  • Nutritional support: Gives the body minerals, collagen and any nutritional elements it lacks as it seeks its own healing. It’s imperative that your body’s digestion functions properly for optimal health.
  • Neurological considerations: Stops the near constant release of stress hormones so the body can heal. When pathways and communication channels between the brain and body are open and clear, the nervous system will not needlessly tire out the body. (More on this below.)

Why inflammation is such a problem

In our modern world, I find many of us are locked into a state that blocks the body’s natural healing processes.
 
Whether we are aware or not, many of us are under constant stress, in a state of freeze-fight or flight. As our bodies respond by releasing survival hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol, we struggle with resulting inflammation and pain.
 
If you’re escaping from the tiger, you do need these hormones, but we aren’t designed to run from tigers day after day, without any rest. Our minds are often overworked and overtired, and this can keep our bodies from true restorative rest and recovery.
 
All this causes the nervous system to get stuck in start/stop loops. In order to maintain balance, it tires itself by activating muscles it deems necessary for your movement and survival. The more exhausted it gets, the weaker and more muffled its signals become.
 
But here’s the wonderful part. With a combined, holistic approach, you can restore the nervous system and get to the root causes of pain and inflammation. You can increase elasticity in your joints, skin and body overall, which is the primary difference between youth and old age.
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