Haven’t you ever wondered why humans have to endure such debilitating conditions as headache and backache? If you watch a lot of television, you will be bombarded with advertisements for analgesics (such as aspirin, paracetamol, ibuprofen, and the list goes on). They all claim to provide some version of “fast, effective temporary relief of aches and pains, such as headaches, migraine headaches, and back pain”, as well as other body pains. They are commonly called pain-killers.
From an anatomical viewpoint, we know that pain is an instinctive response, initiated by our brain to protect our bodies, by getting us to stop doing what we are doing, as it is potentially causing us harm to continue to do it. Our pain changes from being local to the area of injury, when we have “simple” injuries, to a more general headache or backache response when the injury, or stress, is a result of adverse chemical, emotional or “compound” physical injuries1.
The best way to imagine how this works is the view “pain” as the engine light on the dash of all motor vehicles. When the engine light comes on, it a top level signal that indicates that something general is wrong with your engine but does not tell you what it is. Treating pain with a pain-killer is analogous to sticking black tape over the engine light in your car. I am sure you have heard many a jokes about people who do this, yet we are led to believe, when watching popular media, that it’s OK to do this when our body gives us the same danger signals.
The actual pain you feel, may be the result of any number of causes, including physical (injury), body chemistry or mental (e.g. stress) and in many cases may not even be in the same part of the body as the source of the problem.
Chiropractors do not “treat” headaches or backaches. All professional chiropractors in Australia have undergone a minimum of 5 years of university education to enable them to perform medical diagnosis of your body in order to attempt to find the thing that is triggering the pain response.
So before you rush into the store to buy you next pain-killer, consider what your body is telling you and perhaps consider getting some professional medical diagnosis from your chiropractor and allow them to help get to the root cause of your headache or backache and offer appropriate treatment.