Do you ever wake up and your throat is itching, burning and it hurts to swallow? If you’re old enough to read this article, I am sure you have experienced a sore throat. You quickly find yourself in a predicament. You want to drink fluids because it feels so good, but the pain of swallowing is terrifying. I found myself in this very situation and was determined to figure out the origin of the “sore throat” and some ways to get through it.
First, why the heck does this happen? Most commonly it is the result of bacteria in the back of the throat. The bacteria make the skin angry and puts those pain nerves on high alert. When we swallow, the muscles in the throat contract and irritate the surrounding tissue. There are more serious causes of a sore throat, but for the purpose of this article, we’ll stick to the simple bacteria cause.
Enough is Enough
So, I bundled up to head out to Healthy Living Market in search of something fun to try to remove the razor blades in my throat. I know from some previous research; local honey is antibacterial and can help speed things up. If you’ve been to Healthy Living before, you know, the tea isle is on the way to the honey isle. That’s right, I name the isles by what’s in them!
Anyway, everyone knows tea and honey go together like pizza and wine, which may be the reason I got this sore throat in the first place. Sugar in wine can be irritating and cause inflammation while cheese increases mucus production. I walk to the tea isle and sit down crisscross-apple-sauce, like a child, in front of the great wall of tea and start to read through my favorite brand: Traditional Medicinals. This California-based company is from one of my favorite towns just North of San Francisco.
I gravitated to a tea called Throat Coat that has lemon Echinacea in it. After 30 seconds of reading and browsing other teas, I headed to check out: tea in one hand, honey in the other. My decision to buy this tea was solidified when the woman who cashed me out confirmed this tea was incredible.
Fast forward 15 minutes to when I was sitting on the couch in amazement at how good I felt. Before I started researching new homemade pizza recipes, I needed to learn a little more about this Echinacea stuff. To my amazement, I found that Echinacea has been found to increase white blood cells. White blood cells help to fight bacteria and infection in the body.
Finally, I was feeling better. Local honey and Echinacea to help fight bacteria. Tea helps soothe the sore skin in the throat. With each sip of tea becoming easier to swallow, I took some time to write about my experience in case you find yourself in the same predicament.
We’ve all been there. You’ve been crushing your workout goals, your skinny jeans are back in full force and you want to break out the American flag tank top in the middle of March. You feel healthy, but you ache all over. How can you treat your body so well, and it turns it’s back on you? You foam roll, use a lacrosse ball, Thera cane, do yoga and roll around in a tub of Biofreeze, but nothing works! Finally you decide to come see me and after a few treatments you’ve only made a slight improvement. At Turning Point Chiropractic I get asked (more than once a day), “Why do I still hurt”?
The answer is relatively simple: You’ve trained your body to hurt and now we have to un-train it.
That’s right. It wasn’t your intention, but as we start to work out and train, our muscles bleed on a microscopic level and produce lactic acid. Blood has the ingredients for scar tissue (fibroblast) and lactic acid is a byproduct of contraction (like exhaust in a car). When these two processes take place the body starts to move differently (altered biomechanics) and you created a poor workout pattern. The real issue is you don’t feel it right away. Even if you do, you can stretch and make it go away. Or so you think.
I’ll Work Through it
The old adage of, “I’ll just work through it.” only works zero percent of the time. Fibroblasts and lactic acid keep building up until… TRIGGER POINT. I’m sure you’ve heard of this buzz word around us hands-on practitioners. Trigger points are very small spasms that can cause very large problems. They can be in one spot and cause pain somewhere completely different. They can change the way you move and even your emotional state. That is why finding them takes a highly trained professional.
So what do we do?
The biggest problem with a trigger point is identifying why it is there. If the patient (you) can tell the
doctor (me) what you were doing, we have a good chance of taking care of it. There are many techniques I use in my office to find and get rid of trigger points. Some of them being interferential muscle stimulation, Active Release Techniques®, therapeutic ultrasound, instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization (Graston®) and much more.
Treatment started and you still hurt
This is the real reason I wanted to write this article. I get patients who constantly ask me why they still have pain. Why does it keep coming back? The answer is you have trained your muscles to act like that. In the same way you train for a marathon, train to do pushups or train to sit at a desk all day. You have trained that muscle to think it has to be constantly contracting. It feels it has a job to do and does it proudly. Therefore, it will take some time to un-train it and re-train it to act like that powerful machine it wants to be. For some people that can be three treatments, for others it may be longer.
The bottom line is, don’t wait to get treated and be patient. Your pain didn’t happen overnight and fixing it won’t happen overnight either.
-Dr. Adam N. Favro, chiropractor