Why does medicine fail with chronic pain?
The stress response, which equals body tissue contraction, can be local or systemic. For example, a painful muscle spasm denotes a localized, stronger stress response than the body’s overall stress response. Every discomfort triggers at least a momentary, local stress response. Pain is a reaction to acute discomforts that trigger acute stress response. Pain is necessary for survival because it translates the stress response to behavior, which then remedies the situation.
Conventional medical theory understands this connection between pain and stress response. With an injury, it’s easy to see the cause of local stress response, i.e. the source of pain. The injury is treated and heals; pain stops. In contrast, with chronic pain, often there is no visible irritant to trigger stress response or pain, such as lesion, herniation, or other tissue damage. The absence of local, visible pathology has led neurologists to study the brain’s role in creating pain, e.g. chronic low back pain. At least one hypothesis states that the brain is entirely responsible for chronic pain; there is no local cause in the pain area itself.
In the absence of local, visible pathology, conventional medical treatment for chronic pain is usually medication, giving us the multinational opioid crisis. More progressive treatment includes mind/body methods for systemic relaxation, which momentarily relieves local stress response and pain, but neither identifies nor removes a source. Manipulation methods identify joint misalignment and spasm, which are symptoms of stress response. In most cases (excepting scar tissue treatments), manipulation constitutes temporary pain management because the root irritant—beneath the symptoms—is neither identified nor removed. Medicine fails with chronic pain when the root irritant is not remedied.
The Arneson Method identifies four distinct, local, internal irritants that are not visible, yet trigger chronic stress response and pain: injury memory, neck exhaustion, low back instability, and tissue stagnation. Each one is terribly easy to remedy, for full recovery. There is a fifth irritant—repressed emotional trauma—which is extremely prevalent, but seldom mentioned by medical practitioners. Blocked emotion accounts for the “stress-related” tension complaints commonly treated by chiropractors and massage therapists.
The purpose of medical research is to identify which body system needs support, and exactly what form of support, i.e. procedure. The first four irritants above elude researchers because those biological conditions require specialized support for the behavior system, which is not yet known to mainstream medicine. Behavior is often the best or only route to effecting relaxation in the autonomic nervous system, which gives us pain relief.