Got Pain? Many people do, in fact it is one of the most common reasons you might go to the doctor. Nobody really likes being in pain, especially chronic pain, but it is a necessary evil to tell the brain about an injury and also to tell the brain and the rest of the body to go and repair any damage.
There is so much pain, that Advil is the #1 grossing over-the-counter drug on the market.
In the prescription painkiller market, which refers to opioid and narcotic pain relievers, enough prescriptions are prescribed to medicate every American adult 24 hours a day for an entire month. 15,000 people die each year from prescription pain killers and OTC pain killers are associated with over 100,000 hospitalizations and at least 16,000 deaths among arthritis patients alone.
Needless to say, I never recommend taking a pain killer of any type if you can avoid it.
What Is the Root Cause?
Chemicals! This was kind of a trick question because there are many things that can cause pain, but what MUST happen for pain to happen is a chemical has to be released or must at least be present in order for the brain get the signal of pain. Your gun is locked and loaded, but a chemical is required to pull the trigger.
It is normal to have the gun ready to fire, but it is not normal for the gun to fire all the time without some event like a cut, scrape, bruise or accident. The firing of the gun is normal and it is a signal to the brain that there is a problem that needs to be fixed.
What is not normal is if the pain does not go away. If it is constant or chronic then there still is an underlying chemical imbalance or something stimulating the chemicals to be released.
Side Note: Some people stop at saying that there is a “chemical imbalance”. To me, a chemical imbalance isn’t a very helpful diagnosis as chemical imbalances occur every day and are common in every patient. The question I ask, is what can we do about your chemical imbalance.
3 Common Causes of Pain Chemicals
1. Allergies and Sensitivities
When was the last time you were in pain and went to your allergy specialist? Most people never do! Eating food you are sensitive or allergic to causes your body to release too much Histamine, which can pull the trigger on pain. This is one reason why so many people feel better on Paleo or Primal diets. Other people may be producing a “normal” amount of histamine but they are lacking specific vitamins or nutrients to break down the histamine in the body and so it accumulates. To add to the pain, histamine is one of the strongest stressors to the adrenal glands and quickly leads to chronic fatigue on top of chronic pain!
2. Poor Diet and Bad Fats
A pro-inflammatory diet and consuming unhealthy fats will lead to an imbalance of essential fatty acids. Even if you are eating a lot of healthy fats, adding excessive sugars and carbohydrates can convert those healthy fats into pro-inflammatory and pain generating chemicals called prostaglandins. There are many kinds of prostaglandins but if you are consuming a diet high in sugar most healthy omega-6 fats will be converted into the kind you don’t want and pull the trigger on pain.
This is much more influential than you think!
3. Joint Inflammation
Joint degeneration and inflammation are more and more common every day in the US. The reason we see so much degeneration is because the body isn’t able to properly repair what is breaking down. The reason the body isn’t able to repair itself has to do with both sugar regulation and detoxification.
The liver is responsible for the bodies’ detoxification and within the process of detoxification, there is a very important process called sulfation. This process is critical for detoxifying drugs, food additives, toxins from the gut, and environmental toxins like pesticides. In addition, sulfation is necessary for detoxification of hormones like estrogen, testosterone and thyroid hormones. Last, but not least, sulfation is responsible for the elimination of brain neurotransmitters and if it isn’t working optimally can lead to nervous system disorders.
Given the many processes that the sulfation pathway has to perform, it gets bogged down and is often unable to perform the necessary joint repair.
Glucosmine and chrondroitin were/are popular nutritional supplements, but should not be necessary in a healthy individual. If you have tried them and experienced relief, you likely have a repair problem stemming from one of the two problems listed above. I am not totally against them as they can provide some temporary relief while we search deeper for a root cause. Arthritis for example is very common, but is more of a symptom than a root cause. Constant joint inflammation and lack of proper healing over time leads to arthritis. Addressing muscular imbalances, nutrient deficiencies and performing proper natural movements (like MovNat) will allow a joint to heal and be pain-free.
As you can see from above, the chemicals that produce pain are highly connected to your diet. This is one of the major reasons why people don’t get relief from pain. In my office I try and address these 3 sources of pain and a few more as to make sure that all grounds have been covered. That is what the true holistic approach is all about.
While there are supplements and herbs that can help with pain, if you are in a chronic pain situation you should see a physician that checks multiple sources of pain and then gives you a specific supplement to help with your individualized condition.