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Every pain originates somewhere. No symptoms occur in the body without a cause. Pain serves as an indicator of a problem but only as a response and a symptom of an unresolved issue. Pain usually manifests as the last symptom to show up after an underlying cause exists for a long period. Pain also deteriorates long before the cause of an underlying issue completely resolves. The relationship between pain and disease paints a clear picture of why pain should not be used as a primary indicator of stress within the body.

Many examples come to mind when explaining this concept, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and cancerous tumors. All of these conditions typically form without pain until their final stages of disease. The spine and nervous system operate likewise. Many studies have proven that pain does not serve as a good indicator for whether or not the spine and nervous system are healthy. A study published in a European medical journal evaluated over 800 young adults between the ages of 24-27 years old. They split the young adults into two groups. One group had no neck or shoulder pain while the other group experienced consistent neck and/or shoulder pain. All of the subjects underwent an MRI to evaluate the detailed health of their spine and intervertebral discs. Four major components were assessed: disc protrusions, degeneration, annular tears, and disc herniation.

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