First of all, I strongly believe that you should be grateful for the pain. Your body is responding appropriately, alerting you to some problem…screaming at you to seek help
If you’re suffering from chronic pain that has no obvious cause, take a look through the list of triggers that follow. Oftentimes, physical pain may be the result of an underlying condition, lifestyle factor, or emotional trauma that you haven’t taken into account.
Few people want to be told that their pain is psychological or emotional in origin, but there’s quite a bit of evidence that backs this up. One theory is that emotional trauma (along with physical injury and environmental toxins) may stimulate molecules in your central nervous system called microglia. These molecules release inflammatory chemicals when stressed, resulting in chronic pain and psychological disorders like anxiety and depression.
Everyday downers can also create this chemical change in your body. That’s why it is so important to focus on the good and stop the ‘stinkin’ thinkin’ before it becomes a bad habit.
Ironically, the very drugs that most physicians prescribe to treat pain may end up making your pain worse after just a few months of use. Dr. Sanjay Gupta, associate chief of neurosurgery at Grady Memorial Hospital and CNN’s chief medical correspondent, reported:
“…after just a few months of taking the pills, something starts to change in the body. The effectiveness wears off, and patients typically report getting only about 30% pain relief, compared with when they started. Even more concerning, a subgroup of these patients develop a condition known as hyperalgesia, an increased sensitivity to pain.
As you might guess, all of this creates a situation where the person starts to take more and more pills. And even though they are no longer providing much pain relief, they can still diminish the body’s drive to breathe.
If you are awake you may not notice it, but if you fall asleep with too many of these pills in your system, you never wake up. Add alcohol, and the problem is exponentially worse. People who take pain or sleeping pills and drink a couple glasses of wine are playing Russian roulette.”
- Poor Sleep
Poor sleep can actually impact virtually every aspect of your health, and the reason for this is because your circadian rhythm (sleep-wake cycle) actually “drives” the rhythms of biological activity at the cellular level. Further, your body needs deep sleep for tissue growth and repair, which is crucial for pain relief. According to recent research from Great Britain, poor or insufficient sleep was actually the strongest predictor for pain in adults over 50.
- Leaky Gut
Dietary changes (see below) are crucial for managing pain, and this is, in part, due to the way they influence your gut health. Substances in grains, for instance, may increase intestinal permeability (i.e. leaky gut syndrome), allowing undigested food particles, bacteria, and other toxicants to “leak” into your bloodstream. Leaky gut can cause digestive symptoms such as bloating, gas, and abdominal cramps, as well as cause or contribute to many others symptoms, including inflammation and chronic pain. (Read more about leaky gut here: https://fortmyerschirostudio.com/2015/01/26/do-you-really-have-acid-reflux-disease/)
- Magnesium Deficiency
Among magnesium’s many roles is blocking your brain’s receptors of glutamate, a neurotransmitter that may cause your neurons to become hypersensitive to pain. This is especially important because an estimated 80 percent of Americans are deficient in magnesium. Two major lifestyle factors that further deplete your body of magnesium are stress and prescription drugs, putting chronic-pain patients at particular risk of deficiency.
Most Physicians Are Clueless When It Comes to Treating Chronic Pain
Surveys show seven in 10 Americans believe pain research and management should be one of the medical community’s top priorities. But instead, it receives barely a passing mention. The APPEAL (Advancing the Provision of Pain Education And Learning) study, which surveyed undergraduate medical schools in Europe, found that even when compulsory pain courses are in place, they represent just 12 hours of the six-year program – or 0.2 percent. Further, most of the schools actually have no required courses on pain that all students must take.
This means that 12 hours of pain study represents a best-case scenario. At 82 percent of medical schools without compulsory pain courses, the students may be receiving even less… or no pain training at all. Though the APPEAL study took place in Europe, it echoes a similar trend identified in the US and Canada by a separate study published in The Journal of Pain.
Most of the schools offered pain education as only a part of general education courses. Less than four percent of the schools had a required course in pain and many offered no dedicated courses at all. When physicians don’t know how to effectively treat chronic pain, they resort to the only treatment they know: prescription drugs, which will do nothing to solve the underlying reasons why you’re in pain. Not to mention, there are non-drug options available to treat your pain while you help it to become rebalanced using proper lifestyle strategies. Non-drug options may include:
- Chiropractic adjustments: According to a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine and funded by the National Institutes of Health, patients with neck pain who used a chiropractor and/or exercise were more than twice as likely to be pain free in 12 weeks compared to those who took medication.
- Trigger Point Therapy: Massage releases endorphins, which help induce relaxation, relieve pain, and reduce levels of stress chemicals such as cortisol and noradrenaline – reversing the damaging effects of stress by slowing heart rate, respiration, and metabolism and lowering raised blood pressure.
- Acupuncture: Researchers concluded that acupuncture has a definite effect in reducing chronic pain, such as back pain and headaches – more so than standard pain treatment.
- Physiotherapy: Offers highly effective modalities for pain rehabilitation.
- Relearn proper posture: The Gokhale Method addresses the root cause of physical pain, which is often caused by improper posture. The method teaches you to reclaim your primal posture, which is the way your body was designed to stand, sit and move. If you suffer from chronic pain, there’s a good chance you need to tweak your diet as follows:
4 Dietary Changes to Make If You’re in Pain
- Start taking a high-quality, animal-based omega-3 fat like tuna or krill oil. Omega-3 fats are precursors to mediators of inflammation called prostaglandins. (In fact, that is how anti-inflammatory painkillers work; they positively influence ) The omega-3 fats EPA and DHA contained in krill oil have been found in many animal and clinical studies to have anti-inflammatory properties, which are beneficial for pain relief.
- Reduce your intake of most processed foods as not only do they contain sugar and additives, but most are loaded with omega-6 fats that upset your delicate omega-3:6 ratio, which will contribute to inflammation, a key factor in most pain.
- Eliminate or radically reduce most grains and sugars (especially fructose) from your diet. Avoiding grains and sugars will lower your insulin and leptin levels. Elevated insulin and leptin levels are one of the most profound stimulators of inflammatory prostaglandin production. That is why eliminating sugar and grains is so important to controlling your pain.
- Optimize your production of vitamin D by getting regular, appropriate sun exposure, which will work through a variety of different mechanisms to reduce your pain. This satisfies your body’s appetite for regular sun exposure. If your Vit D levels are below 60, you need a good Vit D supplement in addition to sun exposure to get your levels back into a optimum level. Beware, all Vit D supplements…indeed all supplements of any kind…are not created equally. I use a Vit D3D5 that is blended with pro-biotics for optimal absorption.
Try These Painkillers from Mother Nature
If you have chronic pain of any kind, please understand that there are many safe and effective alternatives to prescription and over-the-counter painkillers. The pain remedies that follow are natural, providing excellent pain relief without any of the health hazards that pain medications often carry.
- Ginger: This herb is anti-inflammatory and offers pain relief and stomach-settling properties. Fresh ginger works well steeped in boiling water as a tea or grated into vegetable juice.
- Curcumin: Curcumin is the primary therapeutic compound identified in the spice turmeric. In a study of osteoarthritis patients, those who added only 200 mg of curcumin a day to their treatment plan had reduced pain and increased mobility. In fact, curcumin has been shown in over 50 clinical studies to have potent anti-inflammatory activity, as well as demonstrating the ability in four studies to reduce Tylenol-associated adverse health effects.
- Boswellia: Also known as boswellin or “Indian frankincense,” this herb contains powerful anti-inflammatory properties, which have been prized for thousands of years. This is one of my personal favorites, as I have seen it work well with many rheumatoid arthritis patients.
- Bromelain: This protein-digesting enzyme, found in pineapples, is a natural anti-inflammatory. It can be taken in supplement form, but eating fresh pineapple may also be helpful. Keep in mind that most of the bromelain is found within the core of the pineapple, so consider leaving a little of the pulpy core intact when you consume the fruit.
- Evening Primrose, Black Currant, and Borage Oils: These contain the fatty acid gamma linolenic acid (GLA), which is useful for treating arthritic pain.
- Cayenne Cream: Also called capsaicin cream, this spice comes from dried hot peppers. It alleviates pain by depleting the body’s supply of substance P, a chemical component of nerve cells that transmit pain signals to your brain. Sometimes it’s difficult to know where to turn for help.
If your pain requires Chiropractic Adjustments or Acupuncture, I can deliver. If you require attention to your muscles, I uses physiotherapy modalities, trigger point therapy, and dry needling techniques to address myofascial pain. I practice Functional Medicine as well, so dietary and nutritional recommendations, such as those mentioned here, are on hand and can be combined with your treatment plan to get you the best results. Just call (239) 243-8735