Why It Hurts Part 1

In the headlines we hear things such as:

-Chronic pain is responsible for more than $150 billion spent on healthcare- and disability-related costs. – U.S. Census Bureau 1996

-Addressing chronic pain, a hard-to-treat yet highly common condition, costs the United States as much as $635 billion. – Reuters March 2012

-Lost productive time because of common pain conditions alone among workers costs an estimated $61.2 billion per year. – Excerpt from JAMA in 2003.

All of this is for the most part astounding but for those of us who are suffering it is like so what. The thing that has the greatest impression upon our minds is, why does it hurt?

Let me add another question to that one for you, why do babies cry?

I know that it sounds a little crazy to ask such a thing but I want you to think of an answer in just a single word. Once you have your answer go ahead and write it down or just keep a mental note of it for now. I’m sure by now that you already have your answer. Let’s consider the reason that a baby or infant cries is to alert the parent to address a need that it has and desires to be met. The greater the need that child has, the greater the cry or longer it will cry. This is not rocket science here folks and neither is it meant to be. What you need to realize is that our body is no different than that crying baby. The problem is thanks to its wiring the method your body will use to communicate with you the most is pain.

Pain is your body’s way of informing you that there is a need that must be addressed or a situation that requires your utmost attention. Pain is part of a natural electro-chemical process and in most cases it is stimulated by a disruption within or without of the body. The manifestation of this disruption may be an actual injury or even a perceived injury. Also the manifestation could be in the form of a sickness, or emotion which could lead to a set of characteristic behavior that further complicates the original disruption. For now we will just focus on an injury. The greater the injury or the longer it goes without being addressed the greater or longer the pain lasts or recurs.

Even if you looked at the more technical explanation of why pain hurts and look into the receptor terminals on the skin and organs that our nerves are attached to and just focused on the noceceptive chain of events that come from noxious stimuli or even take into account the psychological stimulators and the overall underlying impact on the body, isn’t this still communication? Our entire nervous system is nothing more than a very complex communications network designed to effectively do one main thing, which is get your attention and pain once again is one way in which God designed our bodies to carry out that communication.

You see it doesn’t really do much good to the person suffering to have a nice list of big words and explanations that usually are hard to understand just to get the simple gist that hey your body is trying to tell you something. In the grand scheme of things there must be a paradigm shift from practitioner as the expert to patient as the expert. Let me let all of you out there suffering from pain in on a little known secret, you are the expert on your condition.

Why and how is this so? Simple, you are in your body all day not, your physician or practitioner. Once you really get this straight, things can begin to change for you permanently. I know you were expecting something more technical and hard to understand that would likely take a degree but that is why the headlines read the way they do right now. It is time for you to realize that hey my body is not against me but is really trying to let me know what that next step is and no one else can tell you. Help is a good thing but the right kind of help is a great thing. People today don’t need more prescriptions but need to be provided with the right:

-Tools
-Guidance
-Encouragement

These are the formula for real relief and possible reversal of whatever condition they deal with. In the rest of this series we will be going deeper into why it hurts and elaborating more so by and by on the type of tools, guidance and encouragement that are useful to have real alleviation from your painful state. So stay tuned to learn how you can effectively apply the power you already have to confidently take steady steps down the road to recovery.