Sorry about my less than positive title today, but I heard something on a TV commercial this week that instantly made me very mad inside. And it wasn’t even political!!
The commercial was for the synthetic drug called Advil. I’m sure you’ve heard of it. In the commercial there were older people doing intense physical activities and the voiceover was describing how muscle and joint pains often keep us from doing things. At the end they gave this tagline that infuriated me…
“Pain says you can’t, Advil says you can..”
Let me break down why this is so appalling to someone like me, who helps people navigate through (and hopefully conquer) painful conditions and ailments.
1. The commercial implies that pain should not be listened to, it should instead be silenced. That is absolutely false and here’s why.
When God created humans, His infinite wisdom saw fit to program our bodies in a way that would help ensure our own survival and protection. One of the most important ways that He has done this is with the mechanism of pain.
Pain alerts us to injuries, or to things that could cause injury.
Pain is what keeps you from putting weight on a bone that is fractured, so it doesn’t completely break.
Pain is what gets you to take your hand off a hot stove so you don’t burn through your skin.
Pain is what tells you to take a few days of rest before you do that certain activity again, so that your body won’t break down as a result of it.
Pain is a good thing.
Think about the parallel example of your vehicle. Do you think it’d be a good idea to drive your car across the state with a few parts malfunctioning? Because of that, wouldn’t you say that it’s a good thing that your “check engine” light comes on when something needs repairing? Well your pain is like a check engine light.
Sadly though, for over 100 years big pharma has been working to turn your pain into profit via patent medicines. A BIG part of their success was selling society on the idea (through traditionally trained doctors and through media) that pain is bad and must be silenced. In fact they even want us to believe that we should try to “kill” it!
Here’s the hard reality- trying to “kill” your pain is like trying to bash out the check engine light on your car. Maybe it creates slightly less annoyance while driving, but it only sets you up for a situation where your damaged part become more and more damaged.
2. This commercial implies that the things your body is trying to limit you from doing via the pain signal, are perfectly fine to do as long as you no longer FEEL the pain while doing them.
Here’s the mechanical reality of life. Gravity pulls down at 9.8 meters per second, all day every day. Therefore, invisible forces are CONSTANTLY being exerted onto your body and its various parts. On top of that, each and every movement you do creates additional forces, and every tiny amount of force going inside your body touches something. If the force is great enough on a damaged part, you will feel pain while the force is traveling through it. This is a GOOD thing because it tells you to stay away from those specific forces so you don’t hurt yourself worse.
Once you pop that pill, get that shot, or have that procedure that keeps you from feeling pain, you will keep doing that activity because the pain is gone. This will continue the onslaught of forces on the area and make it break down more and more over time. Usually this means that Advil becomes prescription pain pills, which becomes cortisone, which becomes nerve blocks, which becomes surgeries, which often becomes a lifetime of pain because the wrong road was taken from the very beginning and the root issues were never addressed.
3. The message conveyed can also fool people into thinking that the things they actually SHOULD do to address their painful conditions should work quickly and easily.
This is one of the saddest things I’ve seen come from this type of big pharma propaganda. It’s almost like they have convinced people that painful conditions should be treated like colds. The pain comes on, you do some stuff for it, the pain goes away, then life goes back to normal. Then if you have pain again in the future, just repeat the process again. That is complete nonsense.
As I mentioned, most musculoskeletal pain is not due to something that invaded your body, it comes as a result of things inside your body (muscles, tendons, ligaments, discs, joints, bones, etc.) accruing damage from too much force.
In this type of condition, the body is not fighting to eliminate something, it is working tirelessly to REPAIR something. That means it needs the right supportive materials (quality food, water, other nutrients), the right exercises and therapies, protection from movements that can reinjure them, and most of all…time.
It also means that we need a long term strategy, not just a short term one. This MUST include building up our strength and injury resistance while also continually modifying our life to minimize the likelihood of further damage. That will help keep our vehicle in “feel good” shape and keep our check engine light off the right way.
So anyway, that’s my little rant for the day. Hope it helps.
Yours in truth,
***One thing to add- there are certain times and certain situations where certain people can and will benefit from these types of drugs. I am not condemning anyone who legitimately feels they need them. My grievance is purely with the messaging and the agenda behind the messaging***