How are you pooping? How much processed and fast food do you eat? What position do you lay in when you’re sleeping? I love being a chiropractor. Some of my clients think I’m a little weird because I ask a lot of questions, like those, that seemingly have nothing to do with why their lower back hurts or other such pains. They ask, “Why do you care about all the other things? Why not just adjust me?”

I can just adjust them. However, if I do that relief and healing are limited and short-lived. Pain is the most common reason clients initially visit my office. Sometimes the pain is rather easily resolved. All too frequently I see clients with chronic pain. Just as chronic pain doesn’t always have a definitive source, its resolution isn’t usually clear cut either. That’s why I ask the questions. That’s also why I have clients complete the Body Talk assessment form (download it free HERE ).


Treating and relieving chronic pain is complex. You have to come at it from multiple angles, and to do that you have to see the whole picture – mind, body and spirit. If you’ve read my book, The E Factor, or heard me talk, then you are likely familiar with The Four Quadrants of Well-being. This approach is based on traditional Chinese medicine.  When I’m determining holistic treatment of chronic pain I ask questions and use Body Talk to identify what beyond a subluxation in the spine may be contributing to the ongoing problem. If you’re dealing with chronic pain ask yourself questions related to each quadrant:

Mechanical (physical body/movement)

  • What is your sleep posture?
  • Do you exercise at all?
  • Do you do any movement or hold any position frequently and for long durations, i.e. cocking your neck to hold a phone, using a mouse, sitting with one leg tucked up under the other?

Chemical (nutrition, hormones, toxicity)

  • Are you consuming caffeine and/or fake sweeteners?
  • Are you drinking enough water each day (half your body weight in ounces)?
  • Do you eat processed, pre-packaged or fast foods? How frequently?
  • Do you smoke?
  • What does your poop look like and how often are you going?

Energetic (life-force energy)

Spiritual/Psychological (spirit and mind)

  • Do you practice gratitude?
  • Do you make sure you have fun?

All of these questions and more can lead to a treatment plan for relieving chronic pain. It is about 1) listening to your body and being real about your choices that may be impacting your well-being, 2) identifying changes in each quadrant that could be made, 3) trying them out…finding the right mix, that perfect recipe.

Let me use myself as an example. Few people know that I suffer from chronic neck pain. It is normally a low grade pain that I feel most days and occasionally becomes acute. Here is how I treat it:

  • Mechanical: regular chiropractic adjustments, massages, and an excellent pillow to support good sleep posture on my back or side; workout, but I am mindful of my neck position
  • Chemical: about a 90%+ whole foods, clean diet to maximize nutrition and eliminate the inflammation that is generated by processed foods; gluten free and dairy free for the same reasons, limiting inflammation; taking VEMMA supplements plus Fish Oil and Vitamin D3; drink plenty of water away from my meals and before 7pm
  • Energetic: take a hot shower or bath before bed to release the energy of the day; do my best to keep my environment simple and clutter-free (a lot easier since I right-sized); keep my distance from drama
  • Spiritual/Psychological: practice gratitude daily – making sure I’m grateful for all the parts of my body that work well and don’t hurt; pray; cherish my friends and have fun

I’m really just scratching the surface with the depth and breadth of how The Four Quadrants of Well-being can be used to understand contributing factors to your chronic pain. What I want my clients and you to see is that chronic pain is complex in both what creates and maintains it, and how it should be treated. A multi-faceted problem needs a multi-faceted solution. When it comes to chronic pain it is often not one small change, but a mix of several that create the right blend that supports your health and well-being.

If you suffer from chronic pain I greatly encourage you to take the Body Talk assessment and have a conversation with your chiropractor and medical provider to find the right holistic mix that can help bring you relief.



Originally posted May 19, 2014

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