Why are so many people suffering from chronic pain and why doesn’t all pain respond to painkillers?
Pain is a feeling that is created in the brain. Some pain is created in response to damage in the body, but we can also experience pain that is related to chemical changes, often due to stress, or repeated painful events.
‘Pain-killer’ drugs replicate our own internal opioids, the natural ones our body makes. The man-made ones are useful for short term use to top up our own, however when we attempt to use them for longer times they start to create problems. The body gets used to the increased dosages and switches off the receptors, leaving the drugs to disrupt our brain chemistry.
Physical therapies for pain focus on a different way to relieve pain.
In the last seven years the fascia has been accepted as an important organ in the body, and as the location of a lot of physical pain. If you are wondering why you haven’t heard of the fascia before now then you are not alone. The fascia or connective tissue has been completely ignored by all of western science until the last decade. Scientists are now showing that the functioning of our fascia is critical to good health.
Briefly, the fascia is a cobweb-like net of tissue that wraps around everything inside us, our bones, muscles, organs are all covered in this.
For western medicine it was just an inconvenient ‘wrapping’ to be removed so they could see an organ or muscle. However the fascia is much more intelligent and has important functions.
Fascia carries electrical signals around the body, and these signals can be measured. The fascia cannot be seen on an MRI, or on a CT scan or with X-Ray, which has meant that people with no apparent ‘problem’ have been diagnosed with psycho-somatic pain; a pain that is in their mind, or is related to stress and anxiety.
Much of the chronic pain that people live with has no visible cause.
Fascial inflammation has now been found to be the cause of many chronic physical pains.
The fascia has 6 – 10x more sensory nerves than muscle tissue!
Even when the pain is caused by a trauma or damage in the body we tend to feel the pain in the fascial pathway.
For instance, people with Sciatica often have a radiating nerve pain in the side of their backside and down their legs. This is caused by pressure on the sciatic nerve, normally caused by a lower back imbalance. You might imagine that the sciatic nerve runs down the back or the side of the legs, where people feel the pains, but that isn’t where the sciatic nerve is located. We actually feel pain along the fascial pathways, as these are the routes the body uses to communicate with itself.
Painkillers don’t work very well on fascial pain because painkiller drugs are designed to block pain signals in the brain, or just dull the entire nervous system.
All Acupuncture points are located in the fascia.
Acupuncture theory, written over a thousand years ago, describes a web in the body, with pathways, and that these are used to communication information around the body. Fascial theory confirms that this is actually true.
The acupuncture points are combined to create point prescriptions and tiny stainless steel acupuncture needles are inserted gently, to guide the electrical signals in the body.
Can I use Acupuncture instead of painkillers?
To begin with we concentrate on reducing the pain you are feeling. Once you are feeling less pain you can ask to reduce your medication with your GP.
You can continue to use your painkillers while having Acupuncture, as they will not affect the treatment at all.