Repetitive Use Trauma and Its Role in Causing You Headaches - Literally and Figuratively
I've been practicing chiropractic in Singapore since 2019. Not because I love the heat or the crowded MRTs, but because it's a great place to do what I do.
Singaporeans are very proactive with their health, and their healthcare. This is the opposite of America, where I am from and where I went to Chiropractic School. In America, we view healthcare as damage control. We only go to the doctor when we're sick and we expect the cure to come immediately - ideally in the form of a pill.
This is why I like working here in Singapore. Singapore and chiropractic actually have a lot in common. I feel that Singapore sits right in the middle of Traditional Chinese Medicine and western allopathic or diagnostic medicine. Chiropractic resides in exactly the same place. We have taken tools from TCM, or the art of Chinese Spinal Manipulation (Tuina), and incorporated western diagnostic tools like ex-ray and MRI to create the science of Chiropractic Care. It's a great fit.
And, it's all relevant to this blog, especially if you are reading it from your cubicle, or from your phone on the MRT, with your head down, neck in the shape of a 7. Neither postures are ideal for your spine, and BOTH are contributing to your sore neck and stiff lower back.
Today, we're going to discuss the subject of contemporary ergonomics in greater detail so that I can educate you on some contemporary dangers to your spine that, we in the business of pain relief, call repetitive-use-trauma. It's not like a car accident or a fall down the steps, but the results, over months and years, can leave you just as banged up.
What Exactly is Repetitive Use Trauma?
Repetitive use trauma, or micro-trauma, is a term that doesn't get the attention it deserves. It refers to the small, seemingly insignificant injuries that occur to our spine due to repetitive motions or poor posture. Imagine typing away at your keyboard or craning your neck to look at your phone for hours on end, day after day. These actions, while not immediately painful, can slowly chip away at the health of your spine.
When these tiny injuries are repeated day after day and month after month, the damage to the joints that make up your spine is compounded. Pain is actually an advanced symptom. Persistent inflammation is what leads to pain, so by the time your body is making you aware of the problem, via pain, the inflammatory symptoms have existed for months or even years.
Pain and Inflammation - The Vicious Cycle
This brings us to the pain/inflammation negative feedback loop. Inflammation is the body's natural response to injury. It's like your body's own personal SWAT team, rushing to the scene to start the healing process. However, when inflammation becomes chronic, it's like that SWAT team overstaying its welcome, causing more harm than good.
Here's where it gets complicated: inflammation causes pain, and pain leads to compensatory movements that can cause more inflammation. It's a relentless cycle that can wear down the structures in your spine, leading to chronic pain that begins as a whisper, but soon will be screaming for your attention.
Inflammation: The Root of Chronic Pain
Inflammation is a bit of a double-edged sword. It's essential for healing but can also be the root cause of chronic pain when it gets out of hand. Chronic inflammation can cause a cascade of problems, including nerve irritation and tissue damage, which contribute to the discomfort and pain that we often dismiss until it's too late.
The Early Bird Gets the Relief
Now, let's talk about timing. Conditions resulting from repetitive use trauma are far easier to address when they're caught early. The longer these issues are left to simmer, the more entrenched they become, and the more challenging they are to resolve. Early intervention can mean the difference between a quick fix and a long-term battle.
Spine Tuning: Chiropractic Care as a Proactive Solution
So, where does chiropractic care fit into all of this? Regular chiropractic adjustments can be a game-changer for those suffering from the effects of repetitive use trauma. Let's break down why:
Align Your Spine, Ease Your Mind
Firstly, chiropractic care helps realign your spine, which can be thrown out of alignment by poor office posture and the repetitive strain of contemporary ergonomics. When your spine is properly aligned, it clears the interference from your nerves thus reducing the strain on your muscles and ligaments. This all contributes to breaking the cycle of pain and inflammation.
The Ripple Effect of Chiropractic Adjustments
Regular adjustments also improve joint mobility, which in turn can help prevent the stiffness and discomfort that come with repetitive use trauma. All joints, especially the joints of your spine, need motion. Joints nourish themselves through motion and lubricate themselves through motion. Without proper motion, joints become arthritic.
The Body's Natural Painkillers
Chiropractic care can also boost the release of natural painkillers within the body, such as endorphins. This can provide immediate relief from pain, which is always a welcome benefit. It is similar to Acupuncture in this regard. Acupuncture has been proven to release endorphins as well, albeit less directly than Chiropractic Care.
Prevention is Better Than Cure
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, chiropractic care is proactive. Rather than waiting for pain to become unbearable, regular adjustments can help maintain spinal health and prevent the onset of chronic issues. In a city like Singapore, proactivity equals productivity, right?
Take a Stand Against Repetitive Use Trauma
Incorporating chiropractic care into your wellness routine is a sincere step towards combating the effects of repetitive use trauma. As a chiropractor, I've seen the transformative impact it can have on my patients' lives. It's not just about pain relief; it's about enhancing your overall quality of life.
Your Spine, Your Lifeline
Your spine is your lifeline. It houses the nerves that communicate between your brain and body. When you take care of your spine, you're taking care of your entire being. Regular chiropractic care, combined with good office ergonomics and awareness of posture, can help keep repetitive use trauma on the sidelines. Do you want below average 3G communication in your spine or do you want lightning fast 5G communication?
In conclusion, repetitive use trauma in the spine is a modern-day affliction that's often overlooked until it becomes a significant problem. Understanding the pain/inflammation feedback loop and the role of inflammation in chronic pain is crucial. Addressing these issues early with regular chiropractic care not only provides relief but is a proactive approach to maintaining spinal health and overall well-being. So, take a moment to assess your workspace, check in with your posture, and consider setting up an appointment with your local chiropractor. Your spine, and your future self, will thank you.