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Could Pain Be Effecting Your Health ?




The human body is now understood to be an amazingly complex living system just like a forest or a coral reef. It turns out there are more bacteria and microbes in your body than there are human cells. Human DNA is only one component of what the human body is. Human DNA in fact is not even the largest component of ‘us’ .. hard to digest perhaps but not as hard as it would be to digest without 100 trillion bacteria in our gut digesting for us.


Reflecting on these surprising facts about the body  it occurs to me that there might be some practical use to this information in understanding the importance of pain in our lives.  The following is an insight into what we can sometimes learn about our own bodies by looking at nature.


In 1995 wolves were deliberately reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park in the US.  It was assumed that they would re-establish themselves and that their presence would perhaps reduce the number of elk who were getting out of control due to a lack of natural predators. And while the number of elk did reduced researchers have been absolutely amazed to find the sheer number of other changes that have occurred in the ecosystem for the better. The observable benefits of the wolves presence that probably only form the tip of the benefit iceberg  include-


  • increase in beaver population (now that the elk aren’t eating all the trees on river banks because they have become more cautious about where they browse.)
  • more stable populations of scavenging animals like ravens (because the wolves leave meat from their kills that they rely on.)
  • healthier foliage (because the elk stay in forest more and don’t come into open and eat young trees and shrubs.)
  • more fish in rivers (because the increased foliage supports the river banks which is where they lay their eggs.)
  • healthier elk (because the weak ones get picked off but the wolves and only the stronger animals breed.)



But what on earth has this got to do with your back pain, hip pain, neck pain, shoulder pain etc.?

The researchers who have been studying the wolf reintroduction into Yellowstone have coined the phrase  ‘Trophic Cascade’ to describe the avalanche of positive effects the wolves have had on the park.  And this is exactly what happens to a lot of people once they resolve their long standing stubborn pain issues. As back pain for example eases we often find benefits that were unexpected especially if we have been in pain for a longer period and adjusted our lifestyle around the pain .  The potential benefits of being pain free are numerous ….

  • less  back pain and hip pain can enable you to exercise more often and for longer.
  •  less neck pain enables you to focus more effectively at work.
  • less shoulder pain means sleep usually becomes a lot easier and deeper.
  • having less pain improves your mood which helps with the damage of stress.
  • people who have healthier necks get fewer headaches.
  • people who exercise more because they feel good tend to feel like eating better.
  • people who eat better and exercise feel like getting off the couch and being in the sunshine.

etc etc



So when I observe the similarities between peoples health and what happens when we restore balance to an ecosystem it serves for me as a powerful and beautiful reminder that we as humans are complex natural systems and what we need to be healthy is a state of balance and equilibrium.  It also serves as a great reminder that we might benefit more than we realise if we take steps to resolve seemingly trivial complaints.



I wonder seeing as you took the trouble to read this what health benefits you might discover if you were pain free ??