Debunking Painful Myths

Excerpt from Dr. Dunaway's E-Book "Body Maintenance 101"

One of the common roadblocks to getting out of pain is overcoming common myths behind what causes pain, types of conditions which are hereditary, and what type of treatment is appropriate.  By shedding light on these common myths, I hope to encourage those of you who read this to take the appropriate action to relieving your pain instead of chalking it up to Granny’s crummy genes or “it’s all in my head”.

Myth: “I’ve lived with the pain for so long, now I’ve just gotten used to it.”

Fact: In reality, the longer you go without addressing the pain, the more pain you will perceive and the more sensitive tissues will become.  The reason behind this is a phenomenon called sensitization.  Each nerve in the body has a job, and it takes a certain amount of electrical impulse or stimulus to cause the nerve to fire and perform that job. In the case of chronically stimulated pain nerves, a pathway is engrained between those nerves to the brain that becomes overly sensitized much like skin is sensitized when sun burnt.  The longer this pain pathway is stimulated, the stronger it becomes (just like muscles become stronger when stressed) and the harder it becomes to resolve the pain completely.  By following the advice in the following chapters of this book, you can learn to desensitize that pain pathway by introducing body maintenance with quality movement habits and removing the irritating factors in your daily life.


Myth: My joint degeneration is hereditary.  My mom and dad both had bad degeneration in their spine so I can expect the same thing.

Fact: While there are some hereditary links to certain types of degeneration, such as Psoriatic and Rheumatoid arthritis, the classic degenerative disease (DJD or DDD) is due to excessive wear and tear from old trauma or poor movement.  The fact is, the majority of people will begin to show signs of degeneration as early as their second decade of life on X-ray or MRI regardless of hereditary cause.  However, there two things you should be aware of when talking about degeneration.  First, the amount of degeneration on MRI or X-ray is poorly correlated to your symptoms.  In other words, there are many people out there with degenerative knees or spines just as bad as or worse than yours who have no pain at all.  Why are you in pain and they aren’t?  Second, unless the degeneration is so advanced to the point where the joint is fused, you can regain at least a moderate degree of pain free movement.  So don’t let the label “degeneration” scare you into thinking your pain is a lifelong sentence.  Degeneration is less of a diagnosis, and more of a sign that certain tissues are being overstressed.  Find the reason why those tissues are over stressed and you’ll find your way to less pain.


Myth: I’ll always have back pain because I have Scoliosis.

Fact: When looking at someone from the side, there are normal curves that should be present which gives the spine an “s” shape.  When looking at the spine head on (or frontal plane), you shouldn’t notice any curves.  When you do, and the curve is more than 10 degrees, medicine’s term for this is scoliosis.  Scoliosis needs to be carefully monitored through adolescence, but once the person reaches skeletal maturity, there is little risk of progression.  The issue with recognizing scoliosis on an X-ray is you can’t know how that spine moves.  Some scoliotic patients never have symptoms because they have adequate movement of the spine and the body adjusted to the abnormal structure.  For those who have scoliotic spines which don’t move well, there is still hope of restoring motion to those areas and establishing adequate movement quality.  Although you may be more susceptible to certain injuries, it by no means suggests you should have pain on a day to day basis.  


For more information on Chiropractic treatment, education on Body Maintenance techniques, or coaching for sustainable exercise programs visit or call the office 931-321-1414 to schedule your FREE consultation with Dr. Dunaway.