Why does pain go away and come back?
Last updated on March 15, 2023
Have you been experiencing ongoing back or neck pain that has been going away then coming back again? Well this is a common occurrence because your body is compensating and adapting to physical and repetitive stresses. This gradually happens overtime.
Patterns of compensation can develop for many reasons. This can be due to previous injuries, daily activities or repetitive stressors such as repeated heavy lifting, poor posture or carrying heavy loads. Your body compensates for the lack of movement in one area by adding a new movement or creating a new pattern.
For example, if you have low back pain on the right hand side of your body, your body does not want to further aggravate that area, therefore you may start to lean towards the left hand side more to avoid putting any further pressure or irritation. You may also start to notice that the muscles become tighter on the right due to the pulling across to the left and side and joints become stiffer.
Your muscles in your body will create new patterns causing these muscles to work incorrectly and therefore, pain may intensify or persist. This forms compensation patterns in your body to try decrease the pain. This is like a domino effect, where the pain will continue to come back when your body keeps trying to compensate whilst not addressing the source of the pain.
It can also be due to poor posture and bad habits. If you are sitting in front of a computer, driving, or standing for a long period of time, you might notice a lot of pressure and pain in your neck, middle back, and lower back from your body being in a hunched-like position. Therefore, the pain in your back continues to reoccur because of the posture that you have adapted over time and has not been corrected.
Not addressing the source of the pain can influence the re-occurrence of pain. There are many reasons why the pain has been brought on such as poor posture, repetitive stressors, underlying health conditions, and pre-existing injuries.
What can be done about it?
- Seeking health advice early can decrease the likelihood of any further injuries to occur or prevent the pain to worsen.
- Getting regular spinal health checks from a Chiropractor can help minimize the chances of recurring back pain. Like going to the dentist for regular checks and cleaning prevents tooth decay, it is important to get your spinal health checked.
- Not ignoring early signs such as those niggles or stiffness felt in your back because starting early care can potentially help correct the underlying issue/cause faster than waiting too long.
- It is important to address the underlying cause of the pain because the location of where the pain is felt might not necessarily be the source of the pain. Therefore, getting to the cause of the pain can help the pain not come back as often or even at all.
When should people seek health advice?
- You should seek medical advice when you experience the following signs and symptoms;
- Numbness, tingling, sharp or shooting pain down your arms or legs
- Persistent pain lasting more than 3 months
- The pain progressively gets worse
- Pain increasing in intensity, duration, and frequency
- Persistent pain that is not relieved by rest
- Suddenly waking you up at night
- Sudden changes to the bowel or bladder
If you are not getting to the underlying cause of the pain or recognizing the patterns of compensation, it can increase the risk of injury and damage to the body. Therefore, the pain will continue to come back and forth. The longer we wait to get care, the longer it will take for the body to heal. The best thing that you can do to prevent pain from coming back all the time is to seek professional health advice as soon as possible.