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As we learn more about the role of pain and inflammation in the genesis of heart disease and other conditions, it’s time to take steps to get out of pain, break unhealthy habits, and start moving for heart health.

Ocean Township’s Intermediate School is the first in New Jersey to take advantage of the American Heart Association’s ‘Be The Beat’ program. This program teaches students Hands-Only CPR as well as how to use an automated external defibrillator (AED). The objective of this effort is to ensure that every student in the school is knowledgeable in performing CPR and using an AED.

With everything we know today about heart disease (and the prevention thereof), I sincerely hope that none of these students will ever need to use this knowledge. While I’m sure that pretty much everybody at this point knows the basics in preventing heart disease—diet, exercise, avoiding tobacco products—there’s more to the story than you might think.

Today, I’d like to discuss the various ways that we can work together to get you on a path toward better overall health, reduced pain, and a brighter future. Pain, particularly chronic pain, can affect the health of every other part of your body.

We already know that chronic pain can change who you are as a person. It can lead to depression, anxiety, sleep problems, and a general reduction in the quality of life. Chronic pain can also cause some serious problems with your health that extend way beyond the scope of the original complaint. For example, chronic pain may weaken the immune system as well as raise your heart rate and blood pressure (hypertension). We know, of course, that hypertension is a risk factor for heart attack, heart failure, and stroke.

But what is chronic pain?

The pain you experience after an injury is known as acute pain. In most cases, acute pain will go away on its own accord or with prompt treatment. For example, trauma to the spinal discs (such as bulges or herniations) can be effectively treated with spinal decompression traction, which heals the injury (thereby eliminating the pain).

When acute pain persists and is ignored, however, the nerve fibers responsible for transmitting pain signals begin to shift the burden to slower nerve fibers, leading to the dull, achy pain we know as chronic pain.

Chronic pain is harder to treat than acute pain; this is why a combined effort, involving an assortment of treatment options, is often best. For example, Monmouth Pain and Rehabilitation Center combines traditional medical care and cutting-edge physical therapy with chiropractic care and acupuncture. The best part of this approach is that it’s easier for you—our patient—to have all of your rehabilitation needs met in one office. Please click here to learn more about treatment for chronic pain in our office.

For heart health, I also recommend that patients take advantage of the acupuncturist in our office. Hypertension has been deemed by the World Health Organization as a “Disease, symptom, or condition for which acupuncture has been proved—through controlled trials—to be an effective treatment.”

We also use acupuncture in our office to help patients to quit smoking, another important factor for heart health. Additionally, both our physical therapy and acupuncture departments are prepared to help those of you struggling with weight issues.

For heart health and pain management in Ocean Township, we are ready to help with all of your concerns in a cooperative, multi-disciplinary environment.