Another Blog Article by David E. Smalley, M.D.
This article is on a principle of pain relief that is covered much more in depth in the book, The Miracle of Pain. The content is educational and should not be used as medical advice.
The original photos below emphasize the wonders of nature around us, which reflect the miracles within us.
July 20, 2019 — What turns acute pain into chronic pain?
There are four common factors that contribute to chronic pain. Knowing them may help prevent or give relief for chronic pain. This applies to muscle, joint and nerve pain, but can apply directly or indirectly to many types of pain.
Of the four factors, ignoring pain is the most common. It is usually inconvenient to have to deal with pain. It interrupts what we are doing. If we pay attention to pain, it takes longer to get things done. Finishing what we are doing without taking breaks is a temptation that is hard to avoid. We know that it will take longer to finish a task if we take breaks.
The second factor is covering up the pain. Using ice longer than 48 hours after an injury is a good example of that. It tends to numb things up, but it has no beneficial purpose after 48 hours. Another example is using pain medication, both over the counter and prescription medications, longer than a few days or a few weeks.
Wagon with Bacon Avocados, Washington Navel Oranges, Tangerines and Tangelos
The third factor is doing too much. If we stop when we hurt, the pain reminds us, but that is too late. We need to learn to stop short of what it takes to cause pain. In fact, a good rule of thumb is to cut in half what we are doing that causes pain. Again, it takes longer to get things done that way, but it allows our body to heal many things quickly that we believed would not heal.
The 360+-page book, The Miracle of Pain, has many true stories to illustrate each of the above principles.
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The fourth factor is doing too few of the good things that can help our bodies heal. Movement of surrounding joints that do not need to be immobilized can help swelling resolve more quickly. Resolving swelling is a significant help for healing bones, ligaments and many other structures. Elevation at or just above the heart level often is a quick way to resolve swelling in a few days. Hydration with water for good blood flow and a normal balanced diet should not be overlooked.
Yellow Summer Squash