Causes of Chronic Pain
Causes of Chronic Pain
Below, we’ll examine some common causes of chronic pain and how traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) helps resolve the issue. Often, complaints include:
- Knee Pain
- Ankle Pain
- Lower Back Pain
- Neck and Shoulder Pain
- Tennis Elbow
- Joint Inflammation
- Hip Pain
When you’re injured, you sustain physical damage that can cause your energy channels to become restricted. The restriction bottlenecks everything, which makes it difficult for qi and blood to circulate normally. Instead, they often pool in one area, causing loss of mobility, stiffness, swelling, and pain.
Muscle or Joint Overuse
When you overuse a muscle or joint, the result is similar to physical trauma. However, instead of sudden injury, overuse causes issues over a more extended period. It might be caused by:
- Playing a Sport
- Working/Sitting in a Particular Way
- Repetitive Strain
Whatever the cause, the overuse gradually reduces the flow of qi and blood, leading to inflammation and chronic pain.
In traditional Chinese medicine, the mind and body are intrinsically connected. Feeling a particular emotion (especially an uncomfortable one) over long periods can begin to impact your internal organs and cause disease.
The liver, for example, is often affected by emotional stress. The liver is the organ which, in TCM, governs the smooth flow of qi through your body. A stressed liver will be unable to circulate your qi properly, which begins to cause stagnation in areas prone to it. Because the liver is also responsible for muscle and tendon health, an unhealthy liver can cause tight tendons, loss of mobility, and, of course, chronic pain.
TCM works by bringing your body and mind into balance, breaking up the stagnant qi, and in the example above, supporting your liver. The modalities used in your treatment will be specific to your condition.
Invasion by External Pathogens
Another common cause of chronic pain is an invasion by external pathogens. In TCM, the six primary external pathogens include:
- Summer Heat
When your body’s defenses are weak, these pathogens can infiltrate. They can interfere with the flow of blood and qi, resulting in chronic pain. For those who suffer from aches and pains that worsen in extreme or changing weather, one of these external pathogens might be to blame.
Acupuncture can help stimulate the nervous system, activating bioactive chemicals that can reduce how you experience pain, increase circulation, and reduce swelling. Other TCM modalities can also strengthen your body’s defenses against these pathogens and bring you into balance faster.