You might be wondering how in the world something like back pain can be a good thing. After all, pain hurts.
Besides, pain is generally thought of as something we need to eliminate because it can interfere with our daily lives.
I know all about it because I’ve been there.
Like millions of others, I’ve experienced debilitating injuries from weight lifting and martial arts, as well as from shoveling snow and helping friends move.
I also spend my days bending over adjusting tables and moving people’s bodies around. After 22 years, that kind of physical stress wears on you.
As a young adult who was constantly hurting myself, I never thought it possible that back pain can be a good thing. Our nerves are small, but they can cause a great deal of grief.
People deal with discomfort in a variety of ways. Some ignore it, some try to mask it, and others attempt to resolve it naturally with supplements or some kind of hands-on therapy.
Regardless of the method, treating pain never gets to the root of the issue. That’s because pain is an intelligent symptom that actually has a very intelligent and useful purpose.
Survival Is A Good Reason To Hurt You
In our symptom-driven society, pain is bad. We consider it more of an annoyance than a warning which is partly why spinal problems worsen over time.
This is how pain works…
The body detects some type of damage or threat. Nerve cells signal the brain that something might be wrong. The brain uses the information to determine if you’re in danger or if you’ve been harmed.
If your brain decides you need to protect yourself somehow, you’ll feel pain.
It’s a matter of survival, and survival is one reason why back pain can be a good thing.
All Pain Is In The Brain
A sharp thorn from a bush that suddenly stabs your leg causes a flash of agony.
In this instance, the sensation is designed to make you jump away. This is intelligent because the brain doesn’t know at first whether you just got poked by a thorn or bitten by a snake.
The pain does not take place where the thorn stuck you. however. It occurs in the brain.
It is the brain that ultimately determines if you’ll feel pain or not.
The only reason you experience pain is because your brain senses that your well-being is in jeopardy. Pain is simply an attempt by the brain to alter your current coarse.
But pain is a complex and oftentimes confusing thing. Two people with the same injury might have two totally different experiences. One might experience severe pain and the other doesn’t feel any at all.
The reason is because pain is processed in many different parts of the brain, including areas that control past memories and emotions.
Anyone suffering from chronic pain should watch this fascinating (and hilarious) video about why things hurt by clinical neuroscientist Lorimer Moseley.
Why Your Lower Back, Neck, or Spine Hurts
The reason for your back or neck discomfort is no different.
The brain uses pain to limit and guide (and sometimes STOP) you when joints and nerves of the spine are in trouble.
If you have pain that keeps recurring, it’s an indication that something needs to change.
Every day I see people who are in a great deal of anguish who say their spine is “out” because they strained it somehow. Spinal injuries can indeed occur from singular events like lifting something heavy or a car accident, but they are most often the result of various lifestyle stressors that are wearing the body down.
The brain and body are in constant communication with one another and the only way the brain and body can communicate is through nerves. Those nerves have to pass through the spine, and proper spinal alignment and movement is necessary for optimal nerve function that promotes healing and balance.
Therefore, covering pain with drugs or seeking treatment that solely attempts to alleviate it will never improve spinal function and wellness long-term.
The real answer here is not pain treatment. The solution is either to remove the stressors, strengthen the body, or both.
Although most people consider pain to be a negative experience, it is always an intelligent, helpful response.