Pain is Inevitable; Suffering is Optional
One in five doctor consultations involve a patient suffering from chronic pain and almost 5% report severe disabling chronic pain.
As chronic pain is an invisible symptom, sufferers can feel misunderstood and stigmatized by friends, partners, family members and even the medical profession. Back problems and arthritis are the most common reasons people of working age between 45 and 64 drop out of workforce, accounting for 40% of forced retirement.
There are two major categories of pain:
- Nociceptive pain – nociceptor are sensory neurons that respond to damaging or potentially damaging stimuli by sending signals to the brain and spinal cord. Nociceptive pain is the pain we are all most familiar with. It includes burns, injuries, bee stings, nausea, arthritis and tumor pain.
- Neuropathic pain which arises from damage to the nervous system itself either from disease or injury. Examples are sciatica, mechanical insults, multiple sclerosis, chemotherapy or alcoholism.
Interestingly very often chronic pain involves elements of both types.
Chronic pain is most commonly associated with an inflammatory process. Diseases which are associated with chronic pain and inflammation can include, arthritis (Rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis), Fibromyalgia, MS, inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn’s, Stomach ulcers, Endometriosis and so on. Furthermore, commonly experienced muscle pain from tension, stress, overuse or minor injuries are also associated with acute or chronic inflammation.
When it comes to inflammatory conditions, pain undoubtedly has a huge impact on a patient’s quality of life and therefore is often a priority in treatment. Targeting the inflammatory processes and the actual cause of them is highly important. In other words, if you eliminate the inflammation – you can significantly reduce your pain.
All doctors worldwide agree that the most important thing you can do for pain-relief is reducing chronic inflammation.
Identifying the key drivers of inflammation is imperative. Most of them are systemic and therefore take time to address and resolve. Meantime pain management is necessary to quickly improve the person’s pain and life quality.
Typical key drivers of inflammation are:
- Metabolic Syndrome (insulin resistance)
- Tissue damage / injury
- Chronic stress
- Food sensitivities and allergies
- Medication / NSAIDs
- Sleep disruption
- Toxins / Biotoxins
- Teeth / cavitation, root canals…
Vagus nerve stimulation: The vagus nerve is the main component of the parasympathetic nervous system responsible for the fight and flight response. If the vagus nerve isn’t working properly it leads to inflammation as well as severe chronic pain. So to reduce inflammation we have to reduce the fight and flight response. This can be accomplished by maintaining the daily habits of meditation and yoga or in other extreme cases – such as rheumatoid arthritis – using an implanted device for vagus nerve stimulation.
Ozone therapy: Ozone improves rheology of red blood cell, which means it makes red blood cells more pliable and flexible ensuring that they can squeeze through capillaries. This increases oxygen delivery to cells. Ozone improves mitochondrial uptake and therefore more ATP energy production. This not only improves overall energy levels but also improves the repair mechanism of cells. Ozone increases the production of the major anti-oxidant enzyme Superoxide Dismutase helping in scavenging free radicals.
Turmeric: known as Curcumin is highly anti-inflammatory, helps in wound healing, tissue repair and improves heart rate variability therefore reducing pain. A meta-analysis finds curcuminoids a safe and effective strategy to improve pain severity.
Boswellia serrata: is an old traditional Ayurvedic herb which has been proven to reduce pain and inflammation. A clinical trial conducted by Raychaudhuri and co-workers in India have shown that the extractof the plant, Boswellia serrata, can reduce painand considerably improve knee-joint functions, in some cases providing relief even within seven days.
Enzyme therapy: Proteolytic enzymes have analgesic, effects, besides the well-known anti-inflammatory and edema-reducing properties. These analgesic effects are based on the inhibition of inflammation and direct influences on the nociceptors (sensors of the pain pathway).
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