The Iceberg Concept
It is estimated that only 10% of your nervous system is dedicated to feeling pain/discomfort. What this means is that "pain" can often be the very last symptom to show up when we have problems (and for the same reason is often the first symptom to resolve as we begin healing).
In Chiropractic, we refer to this as the "Iceberg" concept. If you look at an iceberg from the surface, you only see a very small portion of its overall size. Pain is the same way. While it's important to be aware of how we feel, our pain is not able to provide the full picture. IE...if we only pay attention to our physical discomfort, we could miss up to 90% of the other signals our body is sending!
As Chiropractors, our job is to identify and treat the ROOT causes of dysfunction and pain instead of just simply treating symptoms. While we absolutely want you to feel better as quickly as possible, our purpose goes far beyond providing non-invasive pain management. If we don't make an effort to treat and correct the cause of our symptoms, we set ourselves up to experience the same issues on a recurring basis for years to come.
Additionally, it's important to understand that your spine isn't just there to give you structural support. Our spine houses and protects our nervous system which controls literally every organ system, tissue, cell, and function in our body. If you're experiencing an issue with your spine that is bad enough to cause pain, shouldn't we assume that we could also be experiencing the same type of stress on our nervous system as well?
Multiple studies have shown the negative impact that spinal dysfunction can have on our nervous system, from nervous balance to stress signaling and beyond! This is why we we want our patients to understand treatment doesn't end just because your pain is gone. While pain is a valuable marker of progress, it's not the "end-all-be-all." We want to ensure that the underlying problems which caused your pain in the first place have also been corrected.
By only paying attention to our pain or just looking at the tip of the iceberg, we could potentially be neglecting the much larger picture below the surface! If we didn't take the time to address what was going on behind the scenes, we'd be doing our patients a major disservice. So next time you experience pain, take an extra moment to consider what might be causing that pain, and whether your Chiropractor might be able to help address the root cause!