By Mila McManus MD and Nancy Mehlert, MS
Chronic or intermittent pain, whether it is a headache, tummy ache, or joint ache, and whether it is dull and long-lasting or short term and shooting, it can really drag you down and take the joy out of your life. It can seem difficult to resolve and frustrating to control or eliminate.
Pain is difficult for many reasons.
One reason it’s difficult is because the main person you are counting on to resolve it knows very little about it! Did you know that over the course of a doctor’s long medical study, less than four percent of medical schools require a course in pain and many offer no dedicated courses at all? ¹
Not only are most doctors grossly undereducated about pain, but pain can also be very mysterious. Pain can be caused by a specific area of dysfunction or inflammation (kidney stones, pinched nerve, imbalanced hormones, leaky gut) but it can also be a nerve memory caused by negative plasticity of the brain. Dr. Datis Kharrazian, in his book Why Isn’t My Brain Working?, describes this characteristic of the brain in this way: “Many individuals develop chronic pain thanks to negative plasticity. These are conditions in which a person’s neuronal pathways that perceive and generate pain signals become more developed and efficient. ² For example, a person’s herniated disk could cause pain for years. The pain further activates the pain signal, in essence making these pathways very efficient in generating pain. Additionally, pain-receiving fibers increase in number and branch out to further activate pain perception. Over the years these new pathways heighten the pain response, even though the tissue injury is no longer sufficient enough to actually generate pain. “³
In the U.S., more people suffer from chronic pain than from diabetes, heart disease and cancer combined. ⁴ There are many causes, and one thing we know here in our practice from observation and experience is that nutritional deficiencies, food sensitivities, hormonal imbalances, and dietary/lifestyle choices are often the main triggers of pain.
Causes of pain include:
- Poor gut health, nutrient deficiencies and food allergies/sensitivities caused by poor diet, excessive grains, sugar, alcohol, chemicals, excessive antibiotic and steroid use and brain injury.
- Poor Sleep – during sleep the body recovers, restores and resets. Deep sleep is critical for tissue growth and repair, which is, therefore, essential for getting pain relief.
- Vitamin D deficiency – this can causes achy bones. Vitamin D also inhibits inflammatory pathways, so having a deficiency can lead to trouble.
- Magnesium Deficiency – one primary role of magnesium is to block your brain’s receptors of glutamate, a neurotransmitter that may cause your neurons to become hypersensitive to pain. Both stress and prescription drugs can deplete magnesium stores which may explain why an estimated 80 percent of Americans are deficient in magnesium.
- Prescription drugs – a side effect of many drugs can be pain. For example, statins are known to cause muscle and joint pain.
- Lyme Disease – Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacteria that causes Lyme disease, and all its co-infections may start with flu-like symptoms including fatigue, achiness and stiff neck, but can linger chronically and look very similar to many diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS), arthritis, Parkinson’s, chronic fatigue syndrome, and fibromyalgia. Even though many people cannot recall a tick bite, it is worth considering since a tick will numb your skin before the bite, making it difficult to remember or feel the bite. Also, the size of the tick can be as small as a pinpoint and easily be missed.
- Sedentary Lifestyle, including too much sitting, lack of stretching, and too little exercise.
- Excessive exercise
- Hormonal imbalance-can cause headaches, as well as body aches.
Natural Therapies for Pain Relief
- Ondamed Energy Therapy is offered here at TWIHW and reduces and/or eliminates pain through reducing inflammation, oxygenating the body and supporting the body with energy frequencies that help with balance, healing and repair. Call for a free demo today!
- Movement -Stretching and Exercise – a great deal of our current aches and pains are a result of a sedentary life. Too much sitting at desks, hunching over computers and sitting on the couch can lead to chronic disease and pain. We are designed to be active all day. Aim for sitting no more than 3 hours a day. Consider ways to stand while working and keep moving and stretching throughout the day. Even an aggressive exercise schedule cannot compensate for sitting 8-10 hours a day.
- Infrared Sauna is offered here at TWIHW. Check out this link to see how infrared sauna can help a great deal with alleviating chronic pain.
- Chiropractic, Massage Therapy, Acupuncture and Physical Therapy are all familiar methodologies for pain relief.
- Ice remains an age old, simple and local anti-inflammatory treatment for pain.
- dōTERRA Deep Blue Rub cream made with cooling and pain relieving essential oils (available at our office)
Supplemental Painkillers from Mother Nature
There are many very effective supplements available to relieve many types of pain. Talk to our healthcare providers to determine which combination might be right for you. Since we are all unique, we find that effectiveness varies with individuals so it can take several attempts to find the ones that work best for you. Here are many to consider:
- CBD Oil –available at our office
- Protease– when used between meals, these enzymes get into the bloodstream and seek and destroy inflammation, scarring and other “garbage” that needs to be removed from the body. In a sense, they are scavengers, gobbling up materials that obstruct optimal function. They promote improved circulation and immune function, resulting healing. Also available at our office.
- MSM (sulfur), Curcumin, Boswellia, Ginger and Bromelain are all plant compounds with powerful anti-inflammatory and pain relieving effects. ⁵
- Evening primrose, Black Currant and Borage Oils all contain the fatty acid gamma linolenic acid (GLA) which is useful for treating arthritic pain. ⁵
- Capsaicin Cream is formulated from dried hot peppers and alleviates pain by depleting the body’s supply of a chemical component of nerve cells that transmits pain signals to the brain. ⁵
- Krill Oil provides Omega 3 fatty acids which are precursors to mediators of inflammation and thus are beneficial for pain relief.
It is important to remember that solving ongoing pain will require a multi-pronged approach where the impact of addressing diet, lifestyle, hormonal imbalances, supplements and movement cannot be under estimated. Let us help you get some relief. Call 281-298-6742 today for a free consultation.
¹ J Pain. 2011 Dec;12(12):1199-208.
² Mercier C, Leonard G. Interactions between Pain and the Motor Cortex: Insights from Research on Phantom Limb Pain and Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. Physiother Can.2011 Summer;63(3)305-14
³ Kharrazian, Datis. (2013) Why Isn’t My Brain Working?. Carlsbad, CA: Elephant Press LP.
⁴ Rodale News, May 12, 2014, American Academy of Pain Medicine, Facts and Figures on Pain.