No Pain, No Problem? Why You Should See A Chiropractor Even If You Don’t Have Back Pain
Not just pain relief – it’s pain prevention!
Most patients at Ascent Chiropractic only make that first call when their back pain or neck pain is at a place where it’s seriously affecting their daily lives. They’re usually under the assumption that if they don’t feel any pain that there’s nothing wrong with them – that they’re perfectly healthy.
Unfortunately, the truth is that pain is a very poor indicator of what’s actually going on in your body.
In fact, pain and other symptoms frequently only appear after a disease or other condition has become advanced. For example, consider a cavity in your tooth. Does it hurt when it first develops or only after it has become serious? How about heart disease? A person who suffers from a heart attack today was not exactly healthy yesterday.
Regardless of whether you are talking about cancer, heart disease, diabetes, stress or problems with the spine, pain is usually the last thing to appear.
The fact is, when it comes to spine and joint problems, pain often won’t be felt in a joint until 80% of its function (or movement) is lost. By the time you feel pain problems are usually already in full swing!
Hurt ≠ Harm
Many people who are in no pain whatsoever show major problems on their x-rays and MRIs. Take imaging of the low back for example:
This graph is based on a 2014 study looking at MRI and CT imaging of the backs of 3,110 healthy, pain-free people.
In the imaging that was studied, almost 70% of people in their 40’s and without back pain showed degenerative disc disease. 50% showed disc bulges.
As we would expect, the numbers increase in older populations, but amazingly even people in their 20s have a 30% chance of showing degenerative findings on imaging. These are all people walking around, bending, picking things up, playing sports or working out at the gym without any symptoms whatsoever.
It’s Not Just Backs
We see similar findings in the some of the most commonly injured and painful areas of the body.
Shoulders: A 2014 study showed equal rates of partial and full thickness rotator cuff tears on MRI between older adults with no shoulder pain and those with current or previous shoulder pain.
Hips: In a 2018 study, MRI revealed abnormalities in 73% of hips, including labral tears, cartilage defects, bony changes, and fractures among other conditions. All of these findings were in people without hip pain. In other words, 33 out of 45 volunteers with no history of hip pain, symptoms, injury or surgery showed abnormal MRIs.
Knees: In MRIs of the knees of pain-free collegiate basketball players, 62% showed meniscus abnormalities, 90% showed patellar tendinopathy, and 86% showed bone marrow changes. In the general population, up to 85% of adults without knee pain show knee arthritis on x-ray.
So why is this important to understand?
Pain only gives us a small piece of the pie. It doesn’t give us the whole picture! Don’t wait to make an appointment with your chiropractor until you’re in pain.
Just about everyone has vision and dental specialists they see for checkups, but everyone needs to be seeing their spine specialist regularly too – your chiropractor! At Ascent Sports & Wellness Chiropractic, we make it our priority to detect and correct minor problems before they lead to more serious problems. Ready to schedule an appointment? Call us at 262-345-4166 or schedule an appointment online.