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No Pain No Gain—Listening to What Your Body Is Telling You

Athletes understand it—no pain, no gain. You have to go beyond your limits of endurance to build your body up. Little do they know, though, that this saying applies to more than just getting in shape.

The following story appears in The Chiropractic (R)evolution. It is the story of a Canadian colleague’s patient.

As a young girl, this young woman experienced a lot of headaches. She took a well-known, over-the-counter pain medication for relief. However, she had so many headaches, she took this medication very regularly for a number of years. By the time she was in her early twenties, she was on kidney dialysis from the cumulative effects of this drug.

Now this drug is perceived as a very safe, over-the-counter, American-as-apple-pie medication. It’s in every drug store. Millions of people use it regularly. Nurses and doctors routinely recommend it by brand name.

Yet anything artificial poses a problem for the body if taken frequently, no matter how helpful it may be to our every day levels of comfort. It may get us out of pain, but that may not necessarily benefit us.

A lot of times we’d rather down a pill and be pain-free than find out how to tackle the deeper health problem that is causing the pain. That’s not to say that people don’t experience great relief from over-the-counter and prescribed medicine. Sometimes medications allow people to function without pain while their bodies heal.

Yet pain is a signal that something needs attention. It’s actually part of the body’s defense system. If I offered you a pill that would guarantee that you would never feel pain again, would you take it?

What if you took that pill and then went outside and tripped on the curb and broke your ankle? What if you sought no treatment because you felt no pain? You’d have a major problem.

Pain is an alarm system, warning us that something in our bodies needs attention. Medicating it away is like taking the batteries out of the smoke detectors in your house because the sound bothers you when it goes off. You need that alarm system to warn you if there’s a fire. We need pain to warn us that something is wrong with our health. Pain, if we know how to use it correctly, can be our friend, pointing out problems that will only worsen if we don’t look at what is causing the pain.

Pain can be our first line of defense against serious problems, serving as a warning system that we need to do something for our health, like getting under chiropractic care. If we just mask the symptoms without addressing the health problem, it really is a matter of no pain, no gain.

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