The other day I was listening to a song that said “it’s only real if it hurts,” and I laughed – that one made it on the office playlist. It isn’t uncommon that during the first few phases of care, practice members report flare ups of old symptoms, and sometimes even new and unusual ones. This is actually a good sign. It means that your body is adapting and beginning the work of truly healing.
Tissue repair happens in cycles, and often the reason we wind up with chronic injuries, aches, and pains is because this cyclical process has been interrupted and unable to complete. This interruption is due to subluxations. What are those you might ask? Subluxations are at the root of most dis-ease in the body. When our vertebra become misaligned and fixated, this causes an interference to our spinal nerves. This interference interrupts many physiological processes, including our natural ability to heal. This interference means that many normal processes are halted, slowed, or altered in some way.
The goal of chiropractic care is to restore normal function to the body by removing subluxations. When we begin this process it may mean that the body needs to pick up where it left off before the interruption, and that we enter back into a portion of the healing process that includes symptoms, aches, and pains.
Simply put, sometimes healing hurts, and that’s ok. In the current health care culture, this concept is practically revolutionary, but it is a truth as old as time. The current narrative is driven by symptoms, primarily the absence of them. The idea that we are only healthy if we are without symptoms is a farce. It is not that black and white. In fact, some of the most deadly diseases out there have little to no symptoms. Often the first symptom of heart disease is a heart attack. It is possible to have a tumor growing for 9 years in breast tissue before it can be felt as only the size of a pea.
On the other hand, when we eat food that has been undercooked or has become toxic in some way, we often experience food poisoning. This has loads of uncomfortable symptoms including fever, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. These are all normal and healthy ways that the body rids itself of the harmful toxins. If we didn’t respond this way we would eventually go into sepsis and die.
If we injure a joint or tear a muscle, we experience a lot of pain because the body is trying to keep us from further harming the area. The pain is a indicator that we need to slow down, rest, and allow time to heal.
Doesn’t it make sense that the more we are able to feel, the better we are able to make appropriate choices about our health and what our body needs? When subluxations clear, we are waking up the nerves and enabling them to process more information, and often this means that we feel more, and this is a very good thing.
If you start to experience old or even new and unusual symptoms during the initial phases of your chiropractic care, rest assured that your body is waking up and beginning the deeper work of truly healing. Lean into the process, allow yourself time to rest, and maybe even acknowledge the revolutionary work you are doing. The saying “no pain, no gain” has it’s place here, and that’s a good thing.