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Natural Awakenings Lehigh Valley

The Chronic Pain Lion

If you were trapped in a room with a lion would you be able to relax? Most definitely not. Your body would move into fight-or-flight mode and begin to create a stress response. Adrenaline would begin to be distributed, which would cause a spike in your heart and respiration rate. At the same time, blood and oxygen would be pumped toward larger muscles while your digestion speed would begin to slow. This is all with the intent of the nervous system trying to protect you from a perceived threat by making survival decisions. 

The metaphorical lion is a depiction of all of the struggles in your life such as pain, which the brain will bundle together and create a stress response toward. Struggles that can elicit these responses may include job stress, financial difficulty, and family issues. If the lion was removed from the room, you would feel relief and the body would restore balance to the systems originally engaged in the stress response. However, if the lion is left in the room with you for a prolonged period this can wreak havoc throughout the body. While suffering from chronic pain you may also experience sleep disturbances, weight gain, low libido, mood swings, and depression. It is vital for a patient to receive a thorough education on the many side effects chronic pain can create throughout the body. A patient who has a better understanding of their condition is better equipped to manage their symptoms and create healthier habits.

Kyle S. Kasman, PT, DPT
Board-Certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist