Is the Conventional Approach for Treating Acute Pain Wrong?


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Hey Dr. McNamara here. And today I wanted to talk about a recent article about treating acute pain. The question being asked goes as follows, is the conventional approach for treating acute pain wrong? In short, the answer is yes, which is why us as chiropractors who've been successfully treating musculoskeletal pain, have been using an unconventional approach and see amazing results literally every single day.

This new data supports what chiropractors have been saying all along in that inflammation is a natural response that occurs to begin the healing process. Hopefully the treatments that we perform that have been labeled as unconventional will soon be correctly identified as the best practice for treating acute pain.

So in a surprising discovery that flies in the face of conventional medicine McGill university researchers report that treating pain with anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen or aspirin may promote pain in the long term. In this study published in science translational medicine, it has suggested that inflammation, a normal part of injury recovery, helps resolve acute pain and prevents it from becoming chronic pain. Blocking that inflammation may interfere with this process making it harder to treat pain later in life. According to an article on WebMD, senior author of the study, Jeffrey mogul PhD, a professor of the department of psychology at McGill university states. "What we've been doing for decades, not only appears to be wrong, but appears to be a 180 degrees wrong. Furthermore, you should not be blocking inflammation. You should be letting inflammation happen. That's what stops chronic pain." Again, this comes to no surprise for us chiropractors. What we have learned from this study though, is the possible mechanism on why the inflammatory process is so essential in preventing chronic pain resulting from acute injury.

What they observed from this study is that an immune cell known as the neutrophil is a key player in this process. You can think of neutrophils as kind of like the first line of defense whenever we face, any type of acute injury, inflammation, anything that will cause the inflammatory process. Our first defenders are those neutrophils. The researchers in this study discovered this by blocking neutrophils in mice and found that the pain lasted two to 10 times longer than normal anti-inflammatory drugs.

Despite providing the short term pain relief had the same pain prolonging effect. What's interesting though, is injecting neutrophils into the mice, actually seem to keep that from happening. Furthermore, these findings are supported by a separate analysis of 500,000 people in the United Kingdom that showed those taking anti-inflammatory drugs to treat their pain are more likely to have pain two to 10 years later. This is a great discovery and also explains some of the mechanism on why chiropractic adjustments work so well with treating acute pain, as well as chronic pain.

A study performed in the early nineties. Researchers wanted to look at neutrophil respiratory burst as a biological marker for manipulation forces. They compared chiropractic manipulation therapy with sham or a fake adjustment in which forces apply, but there's no actual release that occurs as well as massage. Blood was drawn before and after these treatments. And it was found that the people in the group receiving chiropractic adjustments showed an increase in the functional activity of neutrophils as well as monocytes.

Whereas the people in the other two groups did not demonstrate the same increased, activity of these immune cells. Now this study is a bit old, so I'd love to see it get reproduced, especially with this new emerging evidence on neutrophils, being the major player in the inflammatory response. Also what this study is saying, it's not gonna prevent any type of infectious disease or anything like that. It's just gonna aid in that inflammation.

So the biggest takeaway I want you guys to get from this video is that anti-inflammatory drugs should never be the first choice to treat and manage acute symptoms of pain. If you or someone, you know, is having acute pain come on in and see us. And we will get you guys back on track and feeling better and moving properly.