Pain and Inflammation
Over the past 32 years, I have treated thousands of patients for pain. In more recent years, the prevalence of chronic pain has increased significantly. Patient's response to treatment has changed as well. The purpose of this report is to dive deeper into the underlying causes of chronic pain and explore safer and more natural ways to manage and eliminate pain. I will discuss three aspects of natural pain management that collectively, may greatly reduce or eliminate your pain and significantly improve your overall health and wellbeing.
1. Anti-inflammatory diet
2. Quality target supplements
Pain is your body's way of telling you something is wrong. It is your "check engine light". However, it is when the pain response is over stimulated by inflammatory mediators (AKA: pain amplifiers) that individuals begin seeking ways to extinguish the pain. Unfortunately, they may be making matters worse. Millions are turning to over the counter or prescription medications for pain relief. These medications, although an effective way to treat acute pain (i.e., post injury, post surgery, etc.) do not address the underlying cause of the chronic pain, eventually as they wear off, the pain returns. This creates a chronic, and in many cases, a daily use of these medications. In the Annals of Internal Medicine, 2010, it was published that the chronic use of these over-the-counter pain medications cause thousands of hospitalizations per year and even deaths. These medications (Ibuprofen, acetaminophen, etc.) rank 13th as the leading cause of death in the U.S. according to the American Medical Association.
It is important to state that these medication are safe when used for short periods of time for acute pain and acute flare up of chronic pain. But daily use for long periods of time is not safe. Much too often I hear patients say that they take ibuprofen or naproxen as part of their daily routine every day for weeks, even months. This long term daily use can cause severe damage to the kidneys and stomach.
So What Can You Do?
It starts with food. Our diet plays a major role in chronic pain and inflammation. Keep in mind that this information is not my opinion, but more importantly, it is science-based information. The science over the last 25+ years tells us what we need to know....whether we want to hear it or not. So lets look at what the science does tell us.
Diet induced inflammation is associated with a host of health conditions such as: diabetes, osteoarthritis, Alzheimer's, and many cancers. Certain foods turn on pain amplifiers and pain mediators. Avoiding these foods can greatly reduce your inflammation. In an article published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, titled; "Origin and Evolution of the Western Diet, Health Implications for the 21st Century", the authors state that, " diet related chronic diseases are the largest cause of morbidity and mortality in the United States". It goes on to say that "Industrialized foods universally underlie virtually all chronic diseases of civilization". Another published article in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics titled: " The Diet Induced Pro-inflammatory State: A Cause of Chronic Pain and Other Degenerative Disease states, "nearly ALL degenerative diseases have the same underlying biochemical etiology: a diet-induced pro-inflammatory state.
A recent study released states that ATI's (amylase-trypsin inhibitors) found in wheat can promote inflammation of chronic health conditions outside of the bowel. Ingesting ATI's from wheat can lead to inflammation of the lymph nodes, kidney;s, spleen and brain. Non-intestinal symptoms include headaches, joint pain and eczema. It also states that ATI's can worsen the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, asthma, lupus and IBS.
So now that we know that diet can cause inflammation, what can we do to reduce or eliminate the inflammatory response that causes us pain and other health issues? Taking what we have learned over the past 25+ years and looking at the science of today regarding diet induced inflammation, we can modify our diet and lifestyle to reduce inflammation and live a healthier pain free life. The eating plan is simple to understand, but not necessarily easy to do.
There are several factors to consider when making a significant change in dietary habits. It is crucial to know what, when and how much to eat for your specific needs. You must have a plan. So many of us start off great and gradually fall back into the same old habits. Daily planning is a necessity if you want long term success. The change can be daunting for many, simply because the foods you have been eating for years suddenly become the foods that are making you sick and inflamed. Changing old habits can be very difficult. The major culprits are wheat, sugar, and vegetable oils. It doesn't stop there. The animal products we consume come from grain fed beef, chicken, etc., that are inflammatory and this is passed on to the consumer. This is why grass fed beef and range fed chickens are a better choice.
The second aspect of the anti-inflammatory protocol is supplementation. Many nutritional deficiencies have been linked to chronic pain. Others have been associated with helping the body's own defaming process to help reduce and eliminate pain. A basic supplement protocol for most individuals would include the following:
*Whole foods multivitamin and mineral
*Magnesium 400-1000 mg.
*Omega 3 DHA/EPA 2 grams per day
*Vitamin D3 1000 to 10,000 i.0 per day-as per blood levels
*Probiotics - Lactobacillus and Bifidus specifically
*Curcurnin / Tumeric Other supplements can be beneficial for specific health issues and simply depends on your individual needs and health status.
For specific diet and supplement recommendations we offer the Smart Start Program. This includes a comprehensive symptom burden survey and review of recent blood labs to determine your specific dietary and nutritional needs.